Blue Star Ontario Basketball

Hamilton is a hotbed for basketball in Ontario. Our own local basketball hero's begin their NCAA basketball career Fall 2014: Amira Gianatassio- Mount St. Marys, MD-The Mount, Christina Buttenham-University of Iowa-Hawkeye’s, Hilary Hanaka-University of Vermont-Catamounts and Kia Nurse-University of Connecticut-Huskies.

The energy this year regarding the accolades of Andrew Wiggins has been invigorating. Of course, my favorite is the front cover of Sports Illustrated [Cover-Story]! This past summer Natalie Archonwa of Notre Dame took some quality time to speak with our young aspiring basketballers [Read full story here]. Toronto will be hosting its very first NBA all star game in 2016 [ESPN-NBA].  Needless to say there is a lot of basketball planning going on in the next few years. 

I am very excited to be involved with development and advancement of our young athletes in the future of sports. When some of the biggest basketball advocates offered the opportunity to assist in a new elite basketball program how can I resist! [Blue Star Ontario Brochure-Photography & Design by Aerial Promotions]


Canada Drive is expanding and rebranding as Blue Star Ontario. The new programming and partnership with Blue Star Basketball will provide athletes with unprecedented levels of development and exposure. Website: | Twitter: @CanadaDrive | Facebook: CanadaDriveBlueStar

Blue Star Basketball – Blue Star Basketball is the longest running national evaluation and college showcase organization in women’s basketball.  Many of the top AAU programs from all over the United States play under their banner. Blue Star Ontario will be their first international affiliate. The partnership will ensure Blue Star Ontario teams will have: • Greater NCAA exposure through Blue Star Media • Increased branding within the recruiting community • Access to some of the best AAU tournaments throughout the US • Priority seeding and scheduling for AAU tournaments • Stronger relationships with other clubs and sponsors already associated with Blue Star Basketball • Teams will be outfitted in Nike Product AAU Teams Blue Star Ontario will offer two types of AAU travel teams every spring and summer. Blue Star Ontario Elite Exposure will be running teams from 12U-17U.  These teams will be focused on developing skills and gaining exposure.  They will be attending many of the top USJN tournaments throughout the summer.  Please visit website for the full 2014 schedule.

Canada Drive Elite Development For the younger age groups Canada Drive will be running teams with a greater emphasis on skill development and gaining experience playing against American competition.  There will be teams from 10U-14U with some of the top players also participating on the 12U-14U Elite Exposure teams.

All of the Canada Drive teams will be selected in part by recruiting the best talent available and also tryouts to find any undiscovered talent.


Development Camps

While expanding our AAU program Blue Star Ontario will provide athletes with further development opportunities throughout the calendar year. We have designed several camps that can supplement what athletes are already doing through their club season.  We are pleased to announce three camps starting in January. Visit our website for all the details or contact Coach Nate McKibbon with questions.

Last year was a banner year for Canada Drive with several of our athletes accepting scholarships to many of the top American and Canadian universities. Blue Star Ontario looks forward to continuing that tradition and to a fantastic 2014 season. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding our programs.

Richard Nurse, Program Director

Nate McKibbon, Associate Director

Download Blue Star Ontario Brochure: BlueStar Ontario Brochure Design and Photography by Aerial Promotions

Congratulations St. Mary’s Basketballers!

Amira Giannattasio, Christina Buttenham, and Hilary Hanaka are looking forward to their 2013 OFSAA run in London. 

Source: Larry Moko [Hamilton Scores] It was a memorable sendoff to OFSAA for the St. Mary Crusaders.

St. Mary qualified for the 2013 Ontario girls’ Triple A high school basketball tournament, to be held in London, with a 66-29 victory over Bolton’s St. Michael Thunder on Friday (Nov. 15) at the Crusader’s gym. St. Michael was a challenger from the Region of Peel.

“It was a great way to cap off our home schedule,” said Crusaders’ coach Nate McKibbon. “A beautiful way for us to end our year here in Hamilton and set us up for an OFSAA run next week.

“And since it was our last game, we did a ceremony for our four girls who will be graduating (Hilary Hanaka, Christina Buttenham, Amira Giannattasio and Ally Brandt).”

The Crusaders are seeking a fourth consecutive Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations gold medal (three at Triple A following their victory at the Quad A level in 2010). This year’s provincial finals are scheduled from Nov. 21-23. The gyms for the tournament are located at Regina Mundi Catholic College and Saint Andre Bessette Catholic High School.

Buttenham led the Crusaders charge with 23 points, while Hilary Hanaka and Mackenzie Trpcic contributed 11 apiece. Arianna Pirovic and Payton Deibert replied with 13 and eight points, respectively, for the visitors.

“It really was a team effort,” McKibbon said. “Everyone played hard and got pretty much equal playing time. I was very pleased with what I saw.” The Thunder was held to 11 points in the first half.

The Crusaders are attempting to become the first school at the Triple A or Quad A level to capture four straight OFSAA girls’ basketball championships. Said McKibbon: “I know the girls have put in the proper amount of work. They have really stayed diligent with their focus and intensity all year. I think they are poised to play extremely well at OFSAA. If we play our best basketball we’re going to be awfully tough to beat.”


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I always support and try to keep articles alive with my photographs. Processing thousands of photos is a very time consuming process, but rewarding when an athlete values their efforts in what I capture. Sometimes I visualize a moment that cannot be captured in one frame and want to take time to make the image perfect. I have an artistic vision where I can explore my creative hand at blending images in composites. Special people deserve Special attention...Congratulations Girls!

St Mary Basketball_1


Always a supporter of local hometown heroes and mentors. It was really nice to witness these talented St. Mary's High School basketball players sign their National Letters of Intent to play University Ball in the NCAA  [November 14th 2013]. Congratulations to Christina Buttenham-University of Iowa "Hawkeyes", Hillary Hanaka-The University of Vermont "Catamounts", Amira Giannattasimo-Mount St. Mary's "The Mount". 


2013 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association Junior Girls’ Basketball Championship Game Photos

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More Basketball Photographs Click Here

2013 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association Senior Girls’ Basketball Championship Game Photos

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More Basketball Photographs Click Here

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