The goal is simple for the Durham Lords women’s basketball team this season. They want to get to the Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA) championships.
“Obviously we want to be successful so we’re looking to do as well as we can,” says head coach Heather LaFontaine.
“Hopefully we can make a statement at the Ontario championships, so that will be the goal for us.”
Their home opener is Oct. 30 against the Centennial Colts at 6 p.m.
In pre-season the team played in two tournaments, the Mohawk Exhibition Tournament in Hamilton were they finished with a 4-0 record.
The team then travelled to Sherbrooke, Quebec for the Cougar Fall Classic where they finished with a 1-2 record, which concluded their pre-season.
The team has added four rookies to its roster – Chyvon Thomas of Ajax, Megan Gates from Whitby, Cobourg’s Marie Stasiuk and Kaitlyn Hickey of Oshawa.
LaFontaine enjoys the new recruits she has added to the lineup.
“They’ve been great, like I said having the chance to play pre-season games where we’ve got away and stayed overnight,” says LaFontaine.
“You know we had a chance go out to dinner together and I think that makes a huge difference for team bonding and that’s especially true for the young players to get to know the older players, (and) vice versa.”
LaFontaine says the rookies have brought a mature approach to the team.
“They have a great attitude, you want to have nice people on your team and that makes such a difference, they come to practice, they’re friendly and it’s really important.”
Although, the team did lose five veterans – Victoria Brody, Zharia Gallimore, Raquel Clayton, Steenika Gilbert and Kaydian Owusu.
Heading into this season the Lords have five players with extensive OCAA experience – three fourth-year players (Maddie Dender, Dekota Kirby and Emily Chamberlain) and two fifth-year players (Keisha Arthurworrey and Kaitlyn Cruickshank).
They are expected to lead the younger players this season.
LaFontaine believes her team could pick up where they left off last season, when they ended on a six-game winning streak to finish 12-8.
“I do believe it because we have some of our returning veterans and we have rookies that are coming this year. So yes we do feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”
The pre-season has allowed the Lords to tweak their offensive and defensive plays, says LaFontaine.
“Well we got an opportunity to run through some of our offence and defence. Like I said getting into practising shape, practising and etc.. it’s great and you get into shape that way. Playing shape is something a little bit different.”
She loves the energy of her team.
“They’re excited, I think everybody knows that we got a pretty good group of girls and we’re ready to go this year.”