The Niagara Knights women’s basketball program has added three new members to its 2016-17 roster. Xuan Nguyen-Marshall, Kim Shepard, and Tia Stys are all slated to dawn the blue and white when the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association season tips off in October.
Nguyen-Marshall hails from Scarborough and will bring a slick scoring presence to the Knights lineup. She competes for the Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, as well as the Scarborough Blues JUEL Prep program. Nguyen-Marshall’s Stephen Leacock squad captured the Toronto District School Board AA championship, as well an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations silver medal this past fall. She also earned a silver medal at the JUEL Prep League Tournament to culminate the club season with the Blues.
Head coach Mike Beccaria praised her ability with the ball. “She can score and create for others with equal proficiency,” said Beccaria.
Off the court Xuan will be enrolled in Niagara College’s Fitness and Health promotion program. When asked why she chose Niagara College, Xuan cited a visit to the college earlier in the year. “When I watched the team play, I was inspired to be a part of it. That desire grew more after learning about the strength of the fitness and health promotion program offered at Niagara.”
Shepard joins the Knights out of Woodstock. The strong, athletic forward was a member of the girls basketball and track teams at Huron Park Secondary school, as well as a member of the London 86ers U19 basketball program. Shepard captured the Huron Park athlete of the year award in 2014-15, is an Ontario Education Leadership Centre scholarship recipient, and has received more than 50 medals combined in basketball and track during her time in high school.
Coach Beccaria believes Shepard’s skill set will translate well into the OCAA game. “Kim is a very strong and athletic forward that will fit in well with the up-tempo style in the OCAA.”
A combination of academics and athletics factored into her decision to join the Knights program. “Looking at Niagara College as a whole, it is a perfect fit as a stepping stone for my future endeavours,” said Shepard, who will be enrolling in the Pre-Health Sciences program.
Local product Tia Stys, hailing from St. Catharines, rounds out the strong trio of recruits. Stys competed for Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School and the Niagara Falls Red Raiders. She wrapped up her high school career by competing in the Niagara girls high school basketball game. She was also a part of the Red Raiders squad that captured a provincial gold medal at the 2014-15 Ontario Cup.
Stys will enrol in the Educational Assistant program at Niagara. She chose the college due to its location and campus. “I wanted to stay close to home, and I love the campus and athletic facilities at Niagara.”
Her decision suits Coach Beccaria just fine, as he believes Stys will be able contribute to the Knights’ success. “Tia is a forward with a strong sense of the game with tremendous scoring touch.
The Knights, coming off of a consolation victory at the recent OCAA championships, will be looking to climb the standings to see an even better result.