Red Raiders seventh in Ontario
The Niagara Falls Red Raiders recently went 0-3 in the championship division of the Ontario Basketball Association playdowns but the finish didn’t detract from an excellent season.
“We finished seventh in the province out of a total of 52 registered teams,” said Mark Federinko, who coached the team along with Sean Hutton and Andrea Wiggins. “I am super proud of these girls for their commitment and passion for the game of basketball.”
The squad was smaller than most of its opponents, but it adjusted its offence and defence to give it the best possible opportunities to succeed.
“The entire team was tenacious on defence and coach Sean and I pushed these girls to their fullest potential and they responded well,” Federinko said.
Fielding an under-19 team is difficult due to work and school schedules.
“Grade 12 homework and preparation for college and university eats up a lot of time,” he said. “We played with a short bench of six or seven most of the season with a roster of nine.”
Two players were in British Columbia taking ski instructor courses for nearly all of the season.
Federinko agreed it was frustrating and not very productive at times when there were only three or four players out for practice, but they worked with what they had.
“Team chemistry was terrific from the beginning and progressively improved throughout the season.”
The team went 8-4 in the regular season.
“Their work ethic and perseverance has given them many accomplishments in basketball and I’m sure that will be a continuation into post-secondary and well into the working world,” Federinko said.
Injuries and the pandemic saw a few players not return from previous years but the team added Tia Pucci and Jayda Rodrigue.
“Like all of our girls, they are very talented and extremely coachable,” he said.
Making up the squad were Kate Battell (Myer), Vanessa D’Abramo (Myer), Amy Edwards (Westlane), Keira Federinko (Saint Paul), Riley Hutton (GFESS), Tia Pucci (Blessed Trinity), Jayda Rodrigue (Centennial), Justine Veltman (GFESS) and Tori Wiggins (Myer).
Scoring averages during the season were Federinko (17), Rodrigue (10), Pucci (8), Veltman (7), Edwards (6), Hutton (5), Wiggins (3), Battell (2) and D’Abramo (2).
Leading rebounders were Veltman, Edwards, Pucci and Rodrigue.