The semifinal portion of championship Saturday here at the Langley Events Centre is over.
The Riverside Rapids of Port Coquitlam will face Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators in tonight’s 8 p.m. Tsumura Basketball Invitational 2018 title game.
Here’s a look at out two semifinals:
RIVERSIDE 86 KELOWNA 77
LANGLEY — The Riverside Rapids built a lead as large as 19 points in the second quarter, then had to hunker down and hold off a huge charge from the defending B.C. champions to earn a spot in the Tsumura Basketball Invitational championship final tonight.
“We’re so inconsistent but we seem to have enough firepower,” said relieved Rapids head coach Paul Langford after his team used a late surge to beat the Kelowna Owls 86-77.
“Kelowna played us hard and they really made us work.”
Riverside built a 37-18 lead part way through the second quarter, amidst early foul trouble to the Owls’ standout 6-foot forward Jaeli Ibbetson, who never fully got into a groove.
Riverside also ran into foul issues when star scorer Jessica Parker was forced to the bench before eventually fouling out.
However the Rapids won with their depth.
Sammy Shields led the way with 25 points, Tessa Burton added 19 points, Parker 17 and Alanya Davignon 13.
Ibbetson still scored a game-high 27 points, many in the second half with four fouls. Rylee Semeniuk added 13, Nicole Torozan 12 and Kassidy Day 10.
WALNUT GROVE 79 BROOKSWOOD 64
LANGLEY — The all-Langley battle went Walnut Grove’s way Saturday afternoon.
Jessica Wisotzki scored a game-high 26 points and fellow senior teammate Tavia Rowell added 18 more as the Gators reached the TBI final with a chance to repeat as tournament champions.
Walnut Grove built its lead to as many as 18 points in the first half, and as many as 25 points on two occasions in the second half.
Brookswood, however, fought hard the entire 40 minutes, led by the 14 points of senior guard Jenna Dick.
“We were able to play great when we weren’t in foul trouble,” said Gators head coach Darren Rowell. “And I thought Fania, our Grade 9 player, was able to do a lot of good things out there.”
That is a reference to defending B.C. junior varsity MVP Fania Taylor, who after helping the Gators to first place at the junior provincials has earned a spot in the Walnut Grove starting five.
While her older sister Rolande battled foul problems early, Fania was able to score 15 points in the victory. Grade 10 Sophia Wisotzki added 11 points.
The Bobcats, who will face Kelowna in the 6:15 p.m. third-place final, got a pair of 10-point performances from Quinn Jasper and Neyha Lali. Kelsey Lalonde added nine points and Carolina Sanchez a further eight points.
Last season, Wisotzki scored 41 points en route to MVP honours as the Gators beat the Abbotsford Panthers 75-65 in the tourney final.
Back on Dec. 1, Walnut Grove beat Riverside 83-53 in the championship final of The Big Ticket invitational at Simon Fraser.
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