OSBA Pre-Season Preview: Durham Elite (Women)
Durham Elite was one of the strongest teams in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association’s (OSBA) women’s division last season. The team from Whitby finished its inaugural regular season with a record of 10-3. Two of those losses were at the hands of King’s Christian Collegiate and the other was to TRC Academy. After a successful regular season, Durham Elite defeated Louis-Riel in the first round of the playoffs before being eliminated by TRC Academy, 75-71, in a semifinal game that saw two evenly-matched teams go head to head.
“This year we look to build on our successes from last season by continuing with a strong regular season and working to achieve more in the playoffs,” said Durham Elite Head Coach, Christa Eniojukan.
Durham Elite will have to achieve their goal without three graduating seniors; Shaina Pellington (5’8 PG, Pickering, Ont.) and Daija Moses (5’10 SG, Toronto) are playing south of the border at Oklahoma University and Rider University, respectively, while Tianna Warwick-Dawkins (5’8 G, Ajax) headed north to Lakehead University.
The team has remained tight knit with only five new players added to the roster. Sarai Bailey (5’7 PG, Toronto) and Rebecca Demeke-Marzan (5’9 PG, Toronto) joined Durham Elite this fall, as the team looks to make minor adjustments to an already strong roster. Bailey is dynamic guard who has strong scoring and court presence, while Demeke-Marzan is a long, dynamic guard with strong on-the-ball defense and an ability to score. Both women bring Team Ontario experience to a team full of Team Ontario veterans. Demeke-Marzan was a member of Ontario’s U15 provincial team that won gold at the Canadian Basketball National Championships in Saskatchewan this past summer while Bailey contributed to the U15 team’s bronze medal finish last year. The other new players, Wilo Thomas (6'1 F, Whitby), Jolesha Allen (5'9 G, Oshawa), and Raphaela Toussaint (6'0 F, Kingston), also bring important attributes that will be necessary to fill the void left by the graduating players.
Key returning players include Julia Chadwick (6’2 SG, Ottawa, Ont.), Kylee O’Hara (6’0 SG, Ajax, Ont.) and Keishana Washington (5’7 PG, Pickering, Ont.). All three of these athletes were part of the U17 Team Ontario squad that won silver at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Manitoba. Chadwick and O’Hara are both long wing players who can use their length to score both inside and on the perimeter. O’Hara increased her shooting range this summer, and Chadwick continues to be a physical rebounding presence. Meanwhile, Washington is a natural floor general; she has strong leadership skills and an ability to impact the game in various ways, whether it be scoring, passing or defending the other team’s ball handler.
Durham Elite is set to be an OSBA title contender once again as the roster continues to gel over a second year together and with key returning players and new additions bringing Team Ontario experience to the OSBA squad. Durham Elite will be a tough team to beat this season.