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

Nurse Answers The Call From UCONN

Source: Larry Moko (Hamilton Scores)

Kia Nurse of the St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School will soon be going from one powerhouse basketball program to another.


The multi-talented 6-foot guard who helped St. Thomas More Knights capture consecutive Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Quad A high school championships in 2011 and ’12, signed a letter of intent Tuesday (Nov. 19) to accept a scholarship offer and play for the University of Connecticut Huskies beginning next fall.


For those not familiar with UConn, it’s probably the most successful women’s university basketball institution in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I history. At the very least, they’re neck-and-neck with the University of Tennessee for that honour.

In recent years, however, UConn has dominated. Under the direction of head coach Geno Auriemma since 1985-86, the Huskies have won eight national championships, four times going undefeated. UConn has advanced to the Final Four 14 times with Auriemma at the helm. His record with the Huskies heading into this season was 839-133 (including a 90-game winning streak, the longest in NCAA hoops history). Currently, the defending national champions are 4-0 and unanimously ranked No. 1.


“I think I chose Connecticut because it’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” Nurse said during the signing ceremony held at More. “They have great coaches and a great team. And they play against the best players in the country.”

Nurse says she has dreamed of playing for Connecticut since she was in Grade 7.

In terms of More’s own streak of excellence, the Knights are scheduled to be in Belle River/Windsor on Thursday (Nov. 21) to take a run at a third straight Ontario high school title. That’s never been done since the Quad A level of competition was introduced by OFSAA in 2001. St. Thomas More recently won both the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association and Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships in convincing fashion.


Many schools have been ringing for the Nurse. Approximately 50 attempted to land her services. But UConn seemed to be the “best fit” ahead of a couple of others under final consideration — Penn State and Indiana.

“I’m hoping to reach my goal of being an Olympian and medalling at the Olympics,” Nurse said. “So I think this (UConn) is one of the best places I can do it.”

Nurse helped Canada qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women; the team won silver at the FIBA Americas Championship. (Photo: Samuel Vélez/FIBA Americas)

Currently the youngest member of the Canadian senior women’s national team, Nurse’s intention is to be a part of the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games in 2016. And Auriemma, it should be noted, also happens to coach the USA Basketball Women’s National Team – the defending Olympic gold-medallists in women’s basketball.


Before getting fully involved with the UConn squad, Nurse will participate in the FIBA World Championship for Women, Sept. 27-Oct. 5 in Istanbul/Ankara, Turkey. She helped Canada qualify for that event by being a member of the team that won a silver medal at the FIBA Americas Championship a few months ago in Xalapa, Mexico.

In 2011, Nurse first made her mark on the international scene with Canada’s Cadette U-16 team in Mexico. And the following year, she led Canada to bronze at the FIBA U-17 World Championship in Amsterdam.

“What an amazing accomplishment,” Knights coach Blaize DiSabatino said of Nurse’s scholarship. “We are very proud of her. We know that she will be successful in her next journey. I’m sure that UConn, being such an elite program, will definitely continue to hone in on Kia’s capabilities.”


Kia’s father, Richard, is a former Canadian Football League player with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Her mother — Cathy Doucette — played varsity basketball at McMaster University for five years. Aunt Raquel saw hoops action on the court with Syracuse University and Kia’s uncle is former National Football League star quarterback, Donovan McNabb. And then there’s her hockey-playing brother, Darnell, (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds). He was a first-round draft choice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers last summer.

Richard has been Kia’s coach at the club level with Hamilton Transway. Six of those years (consecutively) Kia and her Transway teammates brought home Ontario Basketball Association titles. In addition, Kia led Team Ontario to two Canadian age- group crowns.


“We talked about it as a family (which scholarship offer to accept),” Richard Nurse said. “Kia wants to play beyond college. We were looking for a place that would bring out the best in her. UConn has a great tradition. Coach Auriemma is the senior women’s national team coach, so he’s fully aware of the commitment it takes to get to that level. That was a deciding factor for us.”

Kia’s older sister, Tamika, also played for the Knights, suited up for Canada at world junior championships and accepted a basketball scholarship at University of Oregon. DiSabatino and her father (Tom Spironello) coached Tamika at More from 2002-04.


“The Nurse family has such strong character,” DiSabatino said. “And they have great family values. That’s part of the reason they are successful in both athletics and academics. They have a real focus on their family. They are always there to support one another and they are proud of each other’s accomplishments.”

The Knight Nurse begins her quest for a third straight OFSAA championship on Thursday with a pair of games, first at Holy Names, then at St. Anne. St. Thomas More is the No. 1 seed.


View Photo Galleries [Here]

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Nurse Paces Canada to Basketball Win Over Italy

Kia Nurse-Canadian Sr. Basketball Team Member

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.”


Related Articles:! 

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________ Social Media Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { tumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! NEW! Aerial Promotions is now on Instagram  Instagram ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2013 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more) Images available now at www.Present it

Nurse Paces Canada to Basketball Win Over Italy

Photo Above: Kia Nurse, St. Thomas Moore HS Junior playing in the Moore Hoops Basketball Tournament, Hamilton Source: Canada Basketball | June 3, 2013 [Hamilton Scores]

Belgrade, Serbia – The Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) wrapped up the Belgrade Trophy Tournament with a close 52-50 victory over Team Italy on Sunday (June 2). The win gives the Canadians a 2-1 record – good for second place – in the competition. Team Canada is now 4-1 on its current European tour. 

The game opened with a flurry of activity from both ends of the court. The teams traded shots as each side looked to establish an early advantage with speed and offence. Canada held a 17-15 lead to close-out the first quarter on the strength of three 3-pointers. The teams settled into the game in the second frame as defence became a priority. Following a quiet quarter, the teams headed into halftime with Canada ahead 23-20.

Canada came out energized and focused looking to take control of the game. Three quick buckets propelled the Red and White to a 10-point lead – the team’s largest advantage of the game. With strong shooting and solid defence, Team Canada was ahead 38-30 after 30 minutes of play.

The fourth quarter told a very different tale. The Italian side seemed to find a second-wind and regained their earlier scoring touch. After a stunning 17-2 run to open the frame, head coach and Dundas native Lisa Thomaidis brought her troops in with a timeout. The coach’s words calmed the team and inspired Canada to respond with an 8-3 run of its own to close the gap to 50-48 with just over a minute to play.

The game would come down to free throws as the teams combined to shoot 12 times from the line in the match’s remaining moments. After two misses from the Italians, Canada would knot the game at 50 with two makes. Another pair of Italian misses would open the door for the Canadians to complete the comeback. Team Canada made two more free throws down the stretch to close-out the game 52-50.

Kia Nurse

The Canadians were led by Hamilton native and St. Thomas More student Kia Nurse who finished with 14 points and three rebounds. Nurse was pleased with the victory and credits the team’s work in its own end.

“Our defensive rotations really improved this game. We boosted our intensity and energy to push through to get the win. This game was the highlight of the trip so far for me because it was such a team effort – everyone contributed in some way.”

Thomaidis agreed with her youngest player’s assessment.

“This was a tremendous team win. The improvement on the defensive end that our team made over a 24-hour span is remarkable. I am so proud for our girls, we played 5 games in 6 days with a shortened bench. This game was a test of our fitness and resolve and we came out on top.”

Canada will continue its European tour by heading to France for a four-team tournament from June 7 to 9. The team will open the competition by playing the host country on Friday and Spain on Saturday. They will close-out the tournament with a date against these same Italians next Sunday.

____________________________________________________________________________________________ Canada Drive U12G/Gr. 6 | Shoot the Rock Basketball Tournament | June 1-2, 2013 | PHOTO'S COMING SOON! [cincopa AAHAfJbm73bg]

Images are available at www.Present it - 10% Discount: 8x6JeuYU


Social Media Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { tumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! NEW! Aerial Promotions is now on Instagram  Instagram ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2013 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more) Images available now at www.Present it

Kia Nurse-Canadian Sr. Basketball Team Member

CONGRATULATIONS! Newest Member of the Canadian Senior Women's National Basketball team. Kia Nurse is a Junior at St. Thomas Moore High School and plays for Hamilton Transway Basketball Organization. Kia Nurse Check out this great article: JUNIOR KIA NURSE SELECTED FOR SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM Published by  on May 25, 2013

Kia Nurse

It was the first game of the season in honor of our dear belated friend Sydney Wood.  I never would have photographed this game against St. Marys vs St. Thomas More if it werent for Mallory (Sydney's Sister) taking to the court.  Today (May 28th) would have been Sydney's 12th birthday and I want to repost those memorable photos from that day.  Please take a moment to view more photos from Sydney Wood's Memorial Game. More Basketball [Here] 

Sydney Wood 2001-2012- Please wear PURPLE today in honor of Sydney's Birthday (May 28, 2001) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Social Media Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. We always update on { tumblr blog | flickr photostream | YouTube channel | Pinterest Boards | Google+  } too! NEW! Aerial Promotions is now on Instagram  Instagram ____________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* © Aerial Promotions 1997-2013 *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why...Because We CARE! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community (...more) Images available now at www.Present it

Sydney Wood Memorial Basketball Game

Blessed Sacrament Yellow Jackets and Transway u11 Girls Basketball More Hoops Basketball Tournament -Hamilton, Ontario-October 14, 2012

Syds_Memorial_Game_A-4 Black and Yellow...Black and Yellow...Sydney "Woodsocks" Loved by all!

In honor of our dearly missed Sydney Wood, Blessed Sacrament invited the Transway girls basketball team to play a memorial game prior to the upcoming basketball season. The game was played during the Moore Hoops Basketball Tournament in Hamilton.  The Yellow Jackets wore proud a basketball with #11 over their heart and Transway to follow with a purple heart to remember Syd on the court.

Syds_Memorial_Game_A-3 After the Sydney Wood Memorial Game, I was able to shoot the first half of the St Thomas More Knights vs St Mary Crusaders in the Championship Finals (Pg.3-4). Best of luck to all the teams in their upcoming basketball season! [nggallery id=73] Syds_Memorial_Game_A-2 Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. Our number one place to post is on Google Plus  GOOGLE+ We always update on { tumbr blog | Flickr photostream | YouTube channel} too! _________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here © Aerial Promotions 1997-2012  |  Photo Credit: Robin Leworthy Wilson _________________________________________________________________________________________ WHY?...Because We Care! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community 

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