After becoming provincial champions and finishing among the top four teams in Canada by reaching the semifinals at Nationals last season, the Humber Hawks women’s basketball looks to build on their success this season.
While most students were on reading week, the basketball team started its campaign to reach the top spot in the country.
Kia Watt, shooting guard for the Hawks, has been on the team for four years, the player who has been on the team the longest, and knows she has a role in upholding the team philosophy.
“I have the responsibility of bringing the new players the culture of Humber. It’s just trying to be the number one (team) at the end of the day, trying to be the number one every year,” Watt said.
The team has won the CCAA championship twice, in 2016 and 2018. Ceejay Nofuente, the all-time top scorer of the team and the current assistant coach was part of both winning rosters.
She said winning a national title is the end goal and the feeling is something extraordinary.
“The goal is nothing less than winning at Provincials and Nationals. I’ve done it two times at the national level and I want them to experience that,” Nofuente said. “it’s just a different feeling that is very hard to accomplish, and not many people can say they have done it.”
Humber won the first two games of this new campaign, the opener against Niagara by 66-54 and then against Sheridan by 88-56.
The new season welcomed five new faces to the roster. Kat Khorovets, a shooting guard from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), and Brooklyn Johnson, a forward from Laurier University, transferred to Humber. Beverley Omere, a small forward from Saint John Henry Newman Catholic High School in Toronto, power forward Peyton Moore, from Mooresville, N.C., and Hope Manglal-Lan, a point guard from Hearth Sacred High School in Walkerton, Ont., are rookies.
With the new faces, the team will rely on the leadership of the current players. Khorovets, the most veteran player in the locker room at 23, talked about what she brings to the team.
“I feel I can help with my experience, when it comes to speaking to everyone and young players I consider myself a vocal leader,” the shooting guard said. “I have to adjust myself because the way the Hawks play is different than I’m used to. I’m learning, but it’s coming.”
Many Hawks fans will notice some changes this year in game style. Ajay Sharma, the head coach of Humber, said the team is more guard-oriented.
“We are going to play fast, we are going to play a spread-out offence, driving, kicking, and creating shot opportunities. And we want to have that nastiness, being physical and disrupting teams on the defensive side,” said Sharma, who is entering his 12th season with the Hawks.
“We are going to play with the most freedom we have ever played,” he said.
“We were a very set play-oriented team before and we are going to play with a modern offence. We are even going to have three point guards on the floor sometimes,” Sharma said.
However, there is something that is never going to change and that’s the team’s character on the court, Watt said.
“Our identity is playing hard, not giving up,” she said.
The Hawks travel to Hamilton to face off against the Mohawk Mountaineers on Nov. 9 for a 6 p.m. tip-off.