OSBA Pre-Season Preview: Lincoln Prep (Women)
The reigning Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) champions are prepared to defend their title this upcoming season. As the first women’s team to capture the inaugural OSBA Championship, Lincoln Prep is coming off an incredibly successful first year. The Huskies had a remarkable run, finishing the regular season in fourth place with a record of 10-5. The team managed to come together in April when they proved to be too much for their competition to handle in each round of the playoffs. The team captured the championship in convincing fashion, beating a competitive TRC Academy, 71-54.
When asked how the team will be looking to improve this season, Huskies head Coach Andrew Baillie explained, “We established a team culture based on effort, high standards and belief in each other. This culture will have to continue for us to achieve any success again this year. The league will be much improved, especially with the addition of three teams and some excellent athletes who will have been working hard over the summer. As with anything worth having, there will be a process and our athletes will have to embrace that process.”
This year’s version of the Lincoln Prep roster will include eight talented new athletes. University of Utah commit Niyah Becker (6’1 G, Winnipeg, Man.) headlines the new recruits. Becker, whose father Dan Becker played basketball at the NCAA Division 1 level and professionally in Europe, made her debut with the U17 Women’s Cadette National Team during the summer of 2016, and was chosen as one of the four Canadian women to attend the NBA’s prestigious Basketball Without Borders camp last winter (February 12-14) during NBA All-Star weekend which took place in Toronto.
Jada Grannum, a transfer from Guelph Prep, is another key recruit. She is a highly skilled defender who can cover the full length of the court. Like Becker, basketball is part of Grannum’s family tree as her father was head coach of the U15 Team Ontario Boys this past summer and he has coached in the National Basketball League for the Mississauga Power. Her brother Juwon Grannum is also currently acting as a player coach for the well-respected men’s program at Ryerson University.
Brynn Masikewich (6’1 F, Calgary, Alta.) is another important Huskies commit. Masikewich was a member of the U16 Canadian Women’s National Team that won silver at the 2017 FIBA U16 Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She proved to be a dominating force during the tournament, averaging a double-double (12 pts and 10.2 reb).
Oakville native Kali Pocrnic (5’4 PG) also joins the Huskies in Hamilton this season. Pocrnic earned 2017 JUEL Prep First Team All-Star and All-Defensive Team honours with the Blessed Sacrament Yellow Jackets. The program also welcomes Chris Cooks, Sydney Guker-Wickie (5’9 G), Jessica Reid (6’4 F), a transfer from TRC Academy, and Natsuki Sczcokin.
The Huskies will lose some key contributors from their championship roster. OSBA First Team All-Star Hanna Hall (5’5 PG) is looking to make a name for herself at the University of Buffalo this fall. Mia Spadafora (5’9 G/F) stayed local to play for the McMaster Marauders while Angeline Campbell moved to Montreal to attend Concordia University and Alexis Kenyeres (5’9 G) headed out west to join the University of Manitoba Bisons. Aiden Rainford (6’2 F) transferred to a prep school in the United States.
Besides these five players, more than three quarters of the Huskies roster are returning. When asked about the returning players for this upcoming season, Head Coach Andrew Baillie said, “We will rely on all of them to continue the mindset and culture that we built as a team last year.”
Can Lincoln Prep be the first women’s team in OSBA history to win back-to-back championships? They certainly have the roster to do so. The Lincoln Prep Huskies are a team to keep a close eye on this season.