Richview Girls Basketball: Bound To Win

Girls basketball has always been one of Richview’s best sports. We have claimed the city championship many times between both the senior team and the junior team. Last year, the junior girls came out on top winning every single game they played, cinching city championships once again. The senior team has also always looked strong, with many amazing new players that fill the spots of the graduating stars. Losing has become a rarity.

This year, the junior girls basketball team looked incredibly good. No one pictured them ever losing. They crushed every single team they played against by 15 points or more in the regular season. With many rep players, and a starting lineup composed of Lauren Riha, Hayley Mainville, Ola Odedoyin, Noura Shafshak, Alia Omar-Bujak, and many talented subs, they were instantly dominant. After winning every game in the regular season, they moved into playoff season. They then proceeded to win the West Region Championships against York Memorial. It was a tough game, with one particularly great player on the other team. Richview had played them before, but York Memorial seemed to be better and stronger than before. Eventually, they began to lose hope as Richview pulled away at the end, winning by 10 points.

The girls began to get hyped for the city championships. In the first semi-final game, Richview faced Malvern. They were so excited, and thought for sure the game was in the bag. Sure, they could pretend to be intimidated. But no one thought they would lose.

At the tip-off, Malvern immediately came out with incredible energy. Richview did as well, doing what they always did. However, Malvern started to lead by larger amounts. As soon as Richview would close the gap, Malvern would pull away yet again. At halftime, we were down 17-25, but the girls didn’t stop trying. Ola dominated the game, driving and drawing fouls, and Domo Kelly, with her mad face on, was being a leader on the team. Overall, they couldn’t close the gap, and lost the first game in two years.

The team wasn’t used to losing at all. It was an emotional end to the season, but overall, they all had a lot of fun and improved as players.

Alia Omar-Bujak and Domo Kelly were leaders on the team all year as returning grade 10 players. Alia always knew the plays and was willing to teach them to whoever needed it no matter what. She was also a spectacular player, with her hard-working attitude and skill. Domo was an amazing player and leader as well, leading the team in terms of attitude. Whenever the rest of the team got distracted during practice, she would help them stay on track and work hard. We wish you both well next year on the senior team.

Ola Odedoyin and Noura Shafshak, both coming from Etobicoke Thunder, were both spectacular, incredibly aggressive players. They were awesome teammates and led the team in spirit. Ola always went hard to the basket, regardless of who was in her way, and Noura was an amazing finisher. They were some of the most dominant players this year.

Hayley Mainville and Lauren Riha were talented players, Lauren with her feisty attitude and amazing shot, and Hayley with her moves and skill. We were lucky to have them on the team.

Finally, the rest of the team, Hannah Manners, Lauren Howorth, Amanda Hatnay, Rhys Thomas (our most frequent subs) Zora Zheng, Andrea Vlahovic, and Sophia Giannone were all spectacular players. Sophia was amazing to come to every practice and game even though she couldn’t play in most of them.

The senior girl’s basketball season was filled with excitement, but ultimately the girls didn’t have the magical ending they were hoping for. That’s the beauty of sport though; there’s always next year. The senior saints went undefeated in league play, winning all of their games with the margin of victory being greater than twenty-five in each game. The girls faced their real competition in tournaments; Seneca College, Humber College and the Griffins classic. Many of the teams that entered these tournaments are highly ranked in the GTA and even the province. While the Saints weren’t able to win a tournament, their strongest finish was third place at the Seneca College tournament where team captain, Sidney Crawford, was also named the tournament all-star. The girls looked likely to win their 3rd straight west region title but ran into a tough Martin Grove team in the final. The Saints were actually leading the game at halftime, but came up short at the end. Injuries to key players and some missed shots were ultimately the difference in the final.  The Richview Saints are looking forward to next year for redemption and achieving that goal of being City champions and OFSAA bound.

Sidney Crawford proved once again why she has been the face of Richview girls’ basketball for the past 4 years, as she took charge in most games, scoring points and setting up her teammates for plenty of easy baskets. However that’s not what makes Sidney special, it’s her work ethic, drive and desire to win that sets her apart from everyone else.

Grade ten, Laurel Parobec was a standout on the senior team this year as she once again showed off her ability to shoot the ball and lead the saints in scoring. She has two more years left of playing senior basketball where expectations are high for her.

Olayinka Odedoyin had strong season for the Saints, when they were dominant it was because she was taking the game over. When Olayinka plays to the best of her abilities, the Saints do as well. Look for next year to be her breakout year before she graduates!

Thanks to Mr. Buy, Coach Manners, and Mr. Dipchand for coaching the teams and helping all the players improve. They couldn’t have had as much success without you!

By: Lauren Howorth (With submission from Mr. Dipchand)

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