Bruins guard in the comfort zone

MODEL CITIZEN: Don Mills CI’s Karmealia Turner takes time out to teach basketball to kids in the Victoria Park and Eglinton area.

Karmealia Turner hits the court to wash away woes

On the court at Don Mills CI is where Karmealia Turner is in her comfort zone.

“Basketball is something I did just to get away from everything that is going on in life,” she says. “If I have a problem at home or at school that was what I would do.

“I’d just go and play basketball.”

The 17 year old cager has captained her girls team for the past two seasons and as twilight arrives on her high school career she looks back at a successful 2010 campaign.

Her initial outlook though, was not one of sinking treys and denying offensive attacks.

“I was expecting worse to be honest because a lot of girls on the team were grade 9 and grade 10 girls,” she said.

On her varsity squad there were only five senior-aged players while the remaining 11 were grade 9s and 10s, coach Mel Stein said.

“The older ones always have to take care of the younger ones,” he said. “They all become quite close and supportive of one another.”

Turner was no exception to the rule.

“She always started and had to work and learn what those youngsters were all about,” Stein said.

Taking a leadership role has come naturally, as experience both in the Ontario Basketball Association and at the high school level has helped.

“It’s not that different,” Turner said. “You’re more responsible for your teammates.

“If they’re late for practice or they’re not doing anything it’s on your shoulders.”

Still, her teammates played well on the campaign, going 7-1 in regular season only to lose 74-18 to a potent Downsview Mustangs offence.

In the North Region playoffs, the ladies over-powered C.W. Jeffreys 60-25 before bowing out to Emery Eagles 41-17 in the semis.

Stein lauded the southpaw Turner for her focus, leadership and her ability to improve on skills like shooting.

“She’s been a solid citizen for four years, devoted, determined to succeed and excel,” he said. “There’s lots of things she has to work on, but she has improved in a lot of areas.”

Turner is hoping to focus on criminology at York, Ryerson or U of T. As for basketball, a strained hip flexor is keeping her thoughts on academia.

“I’m hoping to get into university but if not I might come back for one more semester next year,” she said.

As for missing her Bruin teammates and coaches, she’s coy.

“Maybe just a little bit,” she said with a laugh.

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