SARNIA, Ontario — The women’s basketball landscape in the OCAA looks considerably different this season with the graduation of Ceejay Nofuente from the Humber Hawks.
In recent years, the Hawks have dominated the OCAA, thanks in large part to Nofuente, who was a three-time CCAA Player of the Year to close out her career. Now, there’s a new top team in town, as the Fanshawe Falcons are the #2 team in the country, trailing only the Dawson Blues in the first CCAA Top 15 rankings of the season which came out last Monday.
In total, just three teams from the OCAA (Fanshawe, Seneca Sting, Sheridan Bruins) found their way into the Top 15 rankings. That will surely change as the season continues to unfold, as several teams in the conference are off to strong starts in 2018-19. At week’s end, three teams are still undefeated on the year, while seven other teams have a record of 2-1 or 3-1 through the first part of the year.
There is a heightened level of parity across the conference this season, and that’s been on full display to this point. There have been several standout performances over the course of the season, and that continued this past week.
Here are five players who stood out among the rest in this week’s Starting Five.
Starting Five: Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, 2018
Rita Sibo – Algonquin College Thunder
10 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals in 89-54 win at Loyalist
25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals in 68-46 win at St. Lawrence (K)
Quietly, the Algonquin Thunder have put together a 3-1 record to start the season, and guard Rita Sibo has been a big reason for their strong start. The young Thunder team came into last week with a 1-1 record, but a pair of convincing road wins pushed their record above the .500 mark, generating positive buzz surrounding the team in the process. Sibo played a big part in double-digit wins over the Loyalist Lancers and St. Lawrence Vikings last week, as her strong two-way play carried the Thunder.
Against the Lancers to open the week, Sibo recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists in the 89-54 win for Algonquin. She added six rebounds and three steals to round out her performance. In the Thunder’s 68-56 win on the road over the Vikings, Sibo went off for 25 points to lead the way offensively. She added six rebounds, four assists, and three steals to cap off her week in style.
For the week, Sibo averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game.
Sydney Charvis – Sheridan College Bruins
22 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks in 80-66 win at Redeemer
This past week, Sydney Charvis and the 14th-ranked Sheridan Bruins were on the road for just one game, as they were in Ancaster, ON to take on the Redeemer Royals. The Bruins were looking to remain undefeated, while the Royals were looking for their first win of the young season. The Bruins solidified their ranking inside the CCAA Top 15, and made their case to move up in the rankings with a 14-point win over Redeemer.
Charvis led the way on both ends of the court for the Bruins in their 80-66 win. Charvis went for 22 points, three assists, four rebounds, and three blocks in the win, putting together a strong performance on both offense and defense. The second-year guard from Mississauga, ON is averaging 15.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for the Bruins over their four wins, all of which have come by at least 14 points.
Dekota Kirby – Durham College Lords
21 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal in 88-62 win vs. Centennial
14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in 75-62 win at Seneca
After a season-opening loss to St. Lawrence, the Durham Lords have been on quite a roll, racking up three straight wins thanks in large part to their defense. Including their two wins from this past week, the Lords haven’t allowed a team to score more than 62 points in any of their wins this season, and all three have been by double-digit margins. Dekota Kirby has been a big factor for the Lords this season, and she helped guide the team to a pair of wins this week to push their record to 3-1 and continue their winning streak.
The Lords welcomed the Centennial Colts to town to kick off the week. Kirby narrowly missed a double-double, recording 21 points and nine assists in the Lords’ 88-62 win over the Colts. Kirby pulled down four rebounds and recorded one steal in the win. From there, Durham College went on the road for a date with the Seneca Sting. In their 75-62 victory, Kirby recorded 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
For the week, she averaged 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per outing.
Jahnae Gyles – Humber Hawks
13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 steals in 73-28 win at Niagara
14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals in 72-62 win vs. Lambton
The 2018-19 season didn’t start as planned for the defending CCAA National Champions, as Humber fell to the Fanshawe Falcons in their regular season opener. The new-look Hawks wasted little time in bouncing back in convincing fashion, posting a pair of wins this past week to get on the right side of the .500 mark for the season. Second year guard Jahnae Gyles had all of her talents on display this past week, impacting the game on both ends of the floor to lead Humber to their two wins.
Up first was a date with the Niagara College Knights on the road as the Knights hosted their annual Blue & White Game. Humber held Niagara to a combined three points over the final two quarters, cruising to the 73-28 win, their first victory of the year. Gyles went for 13 points, three rebounds, five assists, and six steals in the win. From there, Humber returned home to take on the Lambton Lions, and Gyles put together another strong two-way performance in a Humber win. She recorded 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the Hawks’ 72-62 victory.
For the week, Gyles averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 4.0 steals per game.
Jade Addai – UT Mississauga Eagles
18 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals in 88-39 win at Sault
25 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals in 67-60 win at Sault
Over the weekend, second-year guard Jade Addai and the rest of the UT Mississauga Eagles made their annual weekend trip to take on the Sault College Cougars, and the Eagles came back home with a pair of wins to their name when all was said and done. The wins pushed the Eagles’ record to 4-0 in the early part of the 2018-19 season, helping to add to their confidence levels as the season continues to unfold.
On Saturday, the Eagles cruised past the Cougars, 88-39. Addai put together her first of two strong two-way performances over the weekend in the win, recording 18 points, two rebounds, three assists, and six steals. The next night, the game was considerably closer as the Cougars nearly eclipsed their point total from the game prior in the first half. However, the Eagles still came away with the 67-60 win. Addai went for 25 points, five rebounds, and four steals in the win.
For the week, the native of London, England averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 5.0 steals per game.
– T. Bennett