An Eclipse over Munich: Durham Eclipse U19 Junior Women in Europe, July 2010

Durham Eclipse U19 Junior Women & Turnerschaft Jahn U19 Women from Munich, Germany

Written by Durham Eclipse
July 2010

There is always something exciting about international travel. For the Durham Eclipse U19 Junior Women’s basketball team, the summer of 2010 proved this rule. In 2008, the Eclipse was the first ever Canadian entry in Basketball Wien (Vienna, Austria), Europe’s biggest youth tournament. In July 2009, the Munich Germany club Turnerschaft Jahn came to Canada as the Eclipse club guests for two weeks that included a high level basketball camp at Royal Military College, Kingston and a wonderful cultural experience for all. And this summer, the Durham women played games in London, England, Heidelberg, Germany, and Munich on a terrific 18 day tour that included a four day shooting camp in the Austrian Alps, in three countries, and a thousand great memories for our team and its coaches.

The Eclipse flew out of Toronto on July 13. The team was invited to play the reigning U18 champs from England, the Haringey Angels of North London, before heading to Germany. Haringey and their coach Dan Bowmaker have sent 6 players to NCAA D1 programmes in the past 3 years – a serious squad. Jet lag and wild travel arrangements seemed to be a recipe for an Eclipse defeat as the first quarter ended with the Durham women down to big, fast Angels team. But somewhere the excitement of a game on foreign soil kicked in…..PG Jill Stratton (Etobicoke CI) knocked down back to back triples from behind the 6.5m (22 ft) Euro 3 line early in the second, and F Shanica Baker (Notre Dame, Ajax) repeatedly powered her way to the basket, drawing ‘and one’ contact and double teams. A surprising 35-29 Eclipse half time lead in the 40 minute FIBA game was extended to 59 – 45 by three quarter time – a “don’t pinch me, I might wake up” experience! The Durham women survived a late and furious Haringey rally to win 73-62…the first time that Haringey has ever been beaten in their own gym. Baker finished with 24, the hard way, and Stratton scored 23, and an Eclipse fast break game kept the UK girls off balance. On to Munich!!!

It is hard to put into words everything that went down in two grand weeks with our hosts from TS Jahn….the Eclipse played well, our only defeat at the hands of a tough and capable Heidelberg crew led by a very skilled post who could brawl under the basket and then relocate to the three line. Munich is a wonderful city, a great place for young people to explore. The shooting camp in the Alps was an amazing experience. The Durham girls and their Munich club counterparts stayed in a 120 year old farmhouse, where for 4 days they walked 10 minutes into the gorgeous Tyrolean village of Waidring to the beautiful gym with the mountains all around, and coach Armin Sperber (German national team programme) and his son Toni provided ace instruction. When the basketball was off, the sightseeing and the social was on…castles, churches, scenery, and friendly people.

It was tough to leave Munich on July 31st, and the great friendships that were built through sport. Our captain, Sam Jacobs, is staying with the Munichers for the next 10 months, for elite level ball, school, and a great cultural experience – she will play for a CIS programme on her return, super prepared because of her experiences. The TS Jahn women will come to Canada again next summer, and one or two of their fine players will stay in Ontario for a season, to play HS and Ontario club ball, and learn all there is about our way of living. For the Durham Eclipse U19 junior women, the summer of 2010 was the very best that sport gives us – a chance to experience the world, and all that it offers.

G Sam Jacobs (Central Clarington)
G Jill Stratton (Etobicoke CI)
G Jackie Siemon (Richview)
G Julie Longauer (All Saints)
F Shanica Baker (Notre Dame - Ajax)
G Aislyn Morgan-Gray (All Saints)
G Alex Dixon (Cobourg West)
G Danika Cziranka-Crooks (Cobourg West)
G Rebecca Jacobs (Central Clarington)
F Kaitlyn Cruickshank (Eastdale)

Bryan Davies - Head Coach (Whitby)
Claire Davies - Assistant Coach (Medaille (Buffalo), 2009)