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Rachel Bantelman Leads Cara to an Impressive Win on Opening Night of the Women’s League

Rachel Bantelman Healthy Buffalo

Bantelman made her presence felt on the offensive and defensive end of the court.

Season 2 of the Healthy Buffalo Women’s League opens in impressive fashion as a number of talented new teams enter the mix.

Buffalo, NY-  It was a remarkable start to the sophomore season of the Healthy Buffalo Women’s League on Wednesday night as a number of new teams entered the mix.  A total of nine teams entered the league, two more than last season, despite a number of fan favorites dropping out after the first season.  The Season 1 champion NDN Gunners will not return to defend their title in Season 2, nor will we see the return of Jazmyn Haywood, Harper Bishop or Ona Halladay.  However there were a lot of new faces that will certainly leave their mark on the league going forward.

In the first game of action newcomers the Fabulous 5 would take on Team PINK.  There is some interesting history with the Fabulous 5 dating back to the very beginning of Healthy Buffalo’s history as their captain, Laura Book, is the cousin of legendary men’s league player Tim Book, who still holds the Healthy Buffalo record for technical fouls per minute and is an all round hysterical guy.  Laura Book appeared to be a whole lot more composed on the court, leading her team to an opening week win.  Julie Bossard led all scorers with 22 points in a very impressive season debut.  She had a deft touch around the basket and if her week one performance is any indication will have a good chance to win the scoring title.

Ana Fernandez

Ana Fernandez of Healthy Buffalo running the offense against the Shooters.

Game 2 was an instant classic as Brianna Trapper led a revamped Healthy Buffalo squad against Christina Morris and the Shooters.  Christina Morris came out with her jersey on backwards displaying the kind a swagger that made her such an iconic figure in Season 1.  This season she built her team from scratch.  She brought back teammate Deneen Flores from Season 1, added on Magan Campbell who made a brief appearance in the inaugural season, and added a few more explosive players to complement the mix.  They trailed most of the way as Tara Topolski (17 points) and Ana Fernandez (10 points) led an impressive offensive attack with lots of ball movement and team play, but let it slip away at the end as they began to resort to 3-point shooting and too much dribbling.  Christina Morris hit a long range three pointer with a minute remaining to seal the victory, 42-36.

Jasmine Ball Scott Healthy Buffalo

Jasmine Ball-Scott (54) had a great game in her Healthy Buffalo debut.

There were two more brand new team in the 8:45 slot as Cara battled the Lady Mavs.  Both teams looked solid on opening week.  Jeanette Dumais (17 points) had an excellent game for the Lady Mavs, but it was not enough to slow down Cara, who at least on opening week, appear to have the depth and talent to make a run at the title.  Captain Cara Gustafson (12 points) looked sharp in her debut, while Rachel Bantelman (12 points) made a number of highlight reel worthy plays while leading Cara to a 62-38 opening week victory.

Jeanette Dumais Healthy BuffaloBrooke Chavanne and the Toon Squad had a very challenging task to start the season as they opened up against Rachelle Matthys and TBD.  TBD was the favorite to win the inaugural Women’s League before falling to the NDN Gunners in the championship.  Captain Matthys went back to the drawing board for Season 2, tweaking the roster and bringing in some big names.  Healthy Buffalo analysts were anxious to witness the playing debut of Carrie Owens, who made a name for herself in some of the original Healthy Buffalo leagues not as a player, but as a fan rooting on her husband and Healthy Buffalo legend Reuben Owens.  Opposing teams, referees, and even Reuben and his teammates were all fair game when she was in the stands.  She was tough, but fair as a fan, dishing out just as much heated and vocal criticism for Reuben’s team when they did not get back on defense as she had for the referees when they made what she perceived as a bad call.  She began her Healthy Buffalo career as a player in excellent fashion chipping in 11 points for TBD.  Rachael Howard led the Toon Squad with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, but it was not enough to slow down and athletic and talented TBD squad, who appeared hungry to avenge their loss in the finals last season.  Rachelle Matthys (22 points) and Joelle Pollack (25 points) led TBD to an impressive win as their title quest begins anew.

The final wildcard is team SQUAD, who had an opening week bye.  Led by a fearless young captain Clarissa Matias, sister of former Healthy Buffalo league administrator, player and all-round great basketball mind Papo Matias, the SQUAD is certain to be a force to be reckon with in the league.  They will make their season debut next week after having the opening week bye.

The action resumes next week.  Stay posted to www.healthybuffalo.org and the Healthy Buffalo facebook page all season long as we roll out extended coverage including breaking news, pictures, video highlights, analysis, and much more.  The full season schedule should be live by this Saturday.

Jessica Hastings Healthy Buffalo

Jessica Hastings looks to pass as Cara applies the defensive pressure.

 

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