Young big shines with Niagara Prep
Serah Williams is a big, 6-foot-4 part of Niagara Prep’s basketball future.
It was an easy choice for Serah Williams to join the Niagara Prep Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association program.
“It was the only choice that I was aware of,” said the Grade 10 student Tuesday, after scoring six points in a 74-67 loss to visiting Crestwood. “It was an opportunity for me to play at the next level.”
The 15-year-old played for the Canada Elite Juel Prep team last season and Niagara Head coach Dave Picton expressed an interest in her this spring.
“What a great kid,” Picton said. “She is a 6-foot-4 kid with great footwork and she is learning like a sponge.
“She is getting a lot of really big interest already and I love what she does with her work ethic. I am so happy that she is here and she builds our core of 2022 (graduating) kids.”
The Toronto resident, who moved from New York City in 2018, has found OSBA basketball a big step up from Juel Prep.
“It is very competitive,” said Williams, who came into the Crestwood game averaging 9.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. “It pushes me as a player and it makes me test what I know about myself as a player.”
The OSBA has been the perfect spot to take her game to the next level.
“There wasn’t much competition at Juel Prep,” she said. “Everyone was way shorter than me so I didn’t really have anyone to push me to work hard because nobody was scoring on me and nobody was stopping me.
“Here it is a lot more competitive and I have to force myself to play better and help my team.”
She loves being pushed towards her lofty goals.
“I want to play at the next level, make this a professional career for myself and change the game of basketball.”
Picton has seen a lot of development in Williams already.
“She is working on her jump shot and her basketball IQ, and when you see her get a summer of training and development, she will be a special player to watch for the next two years,” he said.
Williams didn’t look out of place Tuesday against Crestwood’s talented bigs.
“She is a young kid who hasn’t played at this level and I thought she handled herself pretty well against a kid who will be playing at a big time level next year,” Picton said.
Tuesday’s game between the West Division leading Niagara Prep (11-0 going in) and East Division leading Crestwood (8-0 going in) didn’t disappoint. The visitors built a 17-point lead at one point in the game but Niagara rallied in the second half to go ahead by three. Niagara’s shooting went stone cold in the final minutes of the game to allow Crestwood to escape with a seven-point victory.
“It was a game of momentum and we didn’t play well in the first half,” Picton said. “That really sealed the game the way Crestwood plays, because they are one of the best teams in North America.
“There are people in the U.S. saying they are the best prep school in North America.”
Niagara didn’t let that reputation faze them.
“We knew what we were up against and we had a good game plan and it came down to the end,” Picton said. “We had the lead, they fought back to take a bit of lead and we took great shots but we just couldn’t hit them in the last three and a half minutes.”
Niagara missed a number of layups as well but Picton attributed the misses to the speed of the game.
“You had six or seven national-level kids on the floor at any one time and I thought it was a great game,” he said. “Hopefully, we can see them again down the road.”
Crestwood 74 Niagara 67
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jacks Player of the Game: Crestwood’s Latasha Lattimore with 22 poinyts.
For Crestwood College: Lattimore 22; Shayeann Day-Wilson and Jadaia Reid 13.
For Niagara Prep: Sarah Te-Biasu 19; Julia Colavecchia 11; Emma Koabel 9; Chantelle Blagrove 8; Madalyn Picton and Donna Ntambue 7; Serah Williams 6.
Up next: Niagara Prep hosts King’s Christian Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at A.N. Myer.