The St Clair regional JUEL Women's basketball team has been busy playing exhibition games in preparation for the Ontario Junior Elite League (JUEL) season.
St Clair played their first scrimmage on Friday January 4th at Detroit Country Day School in Michigan. Ranked 747 in the USA – Country Day is a regional powerhouse known throughout the state for very fast and highly skilled teams. It's was good to see that the St Clair JUEL Team can play with them. They played six periods and it was very good basketball, teams exchanged baskets, many 3 point shots were made and great defense played by both teams. As this was a scrimmage no score was kept on the board. This was a good first test for the St Clair girls.
Next exhibition Game was Wednesday January 9th against the London Ramblers Juel Team. This was also a very good game, with St Clair holding the lead for most of the game - but in the end the Ramblers pulled ahead to a 51 - 43 win. Last year London went almost through the entire season undefeated and this year they also have a very good team.
On Saturday January 12th St Clair played two exhibition games at the St Clair College Heathplex Gym in Chatham. The first game was against the Windsor Valiants. A reunion of sorts for parents and players on St Clair that played for the Valiants under Coach Levac last year. In the end the St Clair Team won the game 54 to 37.
St Clair then faced the Blessed Sacrament Yellow Jackets. A young team also in their first year in the JUEL league. The Jackets played in the Juvenile Div of the Ontario Basketball Association where they were very dominant. St Clair dominated and lead the game from wire to wire - the final score was 77 to 48.
"After the third game of the exhibition season, the girls are beginning to jell." said Coach Levac. "They are learning the strengths and weaknesses of each player and are beginning to read what each is capable of. Much better defensive intensity lead to two wins over the past weekend. I am pleased with their development and they will continue to get better as they learn the offense and the defensive sets. Overall I'm pleased with their development"
The St Clair Regional JUEL Team is an interesting group of players. Most players have never played with each other before - but as one player said "we haven't played with each other but we've played against each other since we were little girls - we know each girl's play very very well" and that affinity seems to be working well for the St Clair Regional JUEL Team.
The Official JUEL Exhibition Season starts January 18 – 20th in Kitchener / Cambridge – that will see St Clair play two exhibition games and one league game. The first game is on Saturday Jan 19th at 11:30 at St Benedicts Secondary in Cambridge against Niagara JUEL. Following the game, the team will attend the Windsor Lancers - Guelph Gryphons basketball game in Guelph. They will return to St Benedicts at 8:30 pm to play the Tri-County Thunder. On Sunday at noon St Clair will again play the Windsor Valiants - also at St Benedicts.
The St Clair Regional Team is made up of players from Chatham, Windsor, Tecumseh, Sarnia, Wallaceburg and Dresden – it is a true regional team from within the St Clair Region – St Clair is a designation that Basketball Ontario uses for their IDP and CP Regional structure. The team is Coached by Nicole Quigley and Paul Levac - with Carrie Carleton, Ken Dunbar and Diane Robbins as Assistant Coaches. Each coach has a specific function in the development and conditioning of the team.