Welcome to Day 2 of the 2022 B.C senior girls Double A basketball championships.
Please keep checking back on this posting for live reports from all four quarterfinal clashes.
STORIES BY AARON MARTIN (Special to Varsity Letters)
ST. MICHAELS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL BLUE JAGS 59 NOTRE DAME 40
LANGLEY – The No. 5-seeded St. Michaels University School Blue Jags earned their place in the B.C. Girls AA semifinals on Thursday night, scrapping their way to a 59-40 upset over the No. 4-seeded Notre Dame Jugglers.
A three-headed attack powered the Blue Jags, as Makenna Anderson (18 points, seven boards, three steals), Charlotte Hardy (15 points, five rebounds), and Brianne McLeish (14 points, six rebounds) did the majority of SMUS’ offensive damage. Hardy, a 6-foot-1 centre, was named Player of the Game.
With SMUS holding a 17-10 lead late into the second quarter, Notre Dame guard Bernadet Leda was fouled on a deep corner three. The 5-foot-5 senior knocked down all three of her ensuing free throws, and that seemed to spark the Jugglers. Within a couple minutes, Notre Dame had drawn even at 17 apiece.
At the buzzer, Grade 9 guard Avery Geddes drilled a deep two to give SMUS a 20-17 lead going into halftime. Neither team shot it well in the first half, as the two squads combined to go 1-for-15 from beyond the arc.
Despite the low score, SMUS head coach Lindsay Brooke wasn’t overly concerned at the break.
“We’ve played them before,” noted Brooke. “Couple of keys we tried to focus on were defense – Bernadet is a great player, so we needed to get off to a good start offensively. Having seen them before, we knew they were going to want to press us, knew they would play some zone. We did a nice job of staying composed early, and we scored enough to position us to make a run in the second.”
After a quick 6-0 SMUS run to open the third quarter, Leda hit a deep three to keep Notre Dame within reach. Quickly re-establishing momentum with buckets from Hardy and McLeish, a spectacular play from Anderson gave SMUS its first 10-point advantage of the contest.
With the Jugglers inbounding the ball, the Grade 11 guard Anderson slipped into the passing lane, picked off the ball and went in for an uncontested layup, bringing the score to 37-27.
The Blue Jags never let Notre Dame get off the mat after that – SMUS bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 19-1 run. Despite a late surge from Leda, who finished the contest with 18 points, the Blue Jags rolled to the victory and a date with the No. 1-seeded Langley Christian Lightning in the tournament semifinals, set for a 1:30 pm tip-off tomorrow afternoon.
“They’re going to be a good test – we’ve seen them as well,” said Brooke of the Lightning. “We are excited for the matchup, and obviously we’re going to give it our all. Really looking forward to the game.”
MULGRAVE 76 SOUTHRIDGE 34
LANGLEY – The Mulgrave Titans senior girls squad played up to their billing in the quarterfinals of the Double A quarterfinal on Thursday evening at the Langley Events Centre.
Coming in as the No-2 seeded squad in the province, Mulgrave of West Vancouver parlayed a dominant first half into a 76-34 win over the No. 7 ranked Southridge Storm of Surrey.
Forward Eva Ruse was named Player of the Game, finishing with 25 points and nine boards in a dominant showing.
The duo of gurd Ava Wilson and Ruse were electric in the opening stanza, combining for 11 points in the first six minutes as the Titans roared to a 11-3 lead early. Mulgrave quickly established their perimeter offense, knocking down four triples in the first quarter.
“Thought we shot the ball really well,” said Mulgrave head coach Claude Leduc. “We stayed calm in the face of what I thought was some strong pressure. We took care of the ball and I think we ran the floor really well tonight. Everyone ended up getting in the game and I thought it was a great effort.”
A more conservative second frame saw both teams trade shots as Southridge found their footing. A 7-0 run, featuring back-to-back buckets from Grade 11 guard Camille Hare, was a highlight for the Storm in the middle of the quarter, though Mulgrave’s dominance on the boards saw them establish a 44-18 lead by half.
The Titans starting five, made up of Grade 10s Wilson, Ruse, Lucy Xu, and Jemma Talib, as well as senior Teagan Sacre, stand at an average of 5’11”. That length was on full display, especially on the defensive end – Mulgrave clogged passing lanes all night and rarely allowed Southridge an contested shot.
“It allows us to do so much, especially defensively,” said Leduc. “We don’t have to worry as much about matchups because they can all take away so much space. And side from just taking the length, they’re all also very athletic on top of that.
The second half saw Mulgrave dip into their rotation, as Erika Panahandeh came off the bench to knock down 10 points over the final 10 minutes.
Mulgrave now will move onto on to a clash with the No. 3-ranked York House Tigers in the semifinals, and Leduc is preparing for a high-quality matchup.
“They’re a really well-coached team, a really well-balanced team with a fantastic point guard,” said Leduc. “We’ll go the drawing board tonight, do some prep. We beat them in the Zone finals, and we’re hoping for a similar result, but they’re a really well-coached team and we’re looking forward to it.”
LANGLEY CHRISTIAN 80 ST. THOMAS MORE 37
LANGLEY – Powered by a brilliant second quarter, Thursday night saw the No. 1-seeded Langley Christian Lightning cruise to an 80-37 win over Burnaby’s ninth-seeded St. Thomas More Knights in the BC Girls AA quarterfinals.
LCS senior guard Sydney Bradshaw was unstoppable on both ends of the court, going 9-of-21 for 28 points, adding seven rebounds and four steals. Forward Taelor Coxford also had an impressive showing, posting 18 points and nine boards.
After a hard-fought opening 10 minutes, Langley Christian blew the doors off to open the second. A 13-3 Lightning run, punctuated by a dramatic falling Bradshaw triple, forced Knights’ head coach Cassie Lauang to take a timeout. While the Knights seemed to settle themselves a bit defensively, they had no answer for Bradshaw, who rained down a total of 13 points in the second frame alone.
The Lightning didn’t give the Knights an inch on defence, forcing 11 total turnovers in the first half and out-rebounding St. Thomas More 24-11 en route to a 48-15 lead by halftime.
“I think we just needed to settle down,” said Bradshaw of the team’s early-game performance. “It’s loud in here, and we just needed to tune it out and focus on what we needed to get done. We got some stops defensively and we were able to play our game.”
Against what may be the best basketball team in the province, St. Thomas More opened the contest as well as they could expect – the Knights held the game to a mere 1-0 score for the game’s first three minutes.
Then the shots started falling.
Langley Christian’s Colette VanderHoven and Bradshaw had eight points apiece in the latter half the of the quarter, and while a pair of triples from Kyra Anagnostou and Chelsea Yang helped St. Thomas Moore keep pace, the Lightning finished the quarter with a 25-12 lead.
“I think we can always clean things up going forward,” said Langley Christian head coach Danielle Gardner. “As long as we keep playing hard and doing our best with whomever we play. We had a bit of trouble finding the hoop – credit to STM, they really battled and played us rough. It was a good game.”
With the game well in hand, Langley Christian sailed through the second half, and will now prepare for a semifinal matchup with either the fourth-seeded Notre Dame Jugglers of Vancouver or fifth-seeded St. Michaels University School Blue Jags, who squared off in the day’s final quarterfinal matchup.
“I think you prepare more to be here than you do for any individual team,” said Gardner. “We worked hard, and we’ll enjoy this for a little bit before we hit the drawing board and plan for whoever we end up against tomorrow.”.
STORY BY GARY AHUJA (Langley Events Centre special for Varsity Letters)
YORK HOUSE 72 KALAMALKA 61
It was a game of contrasting styles and for the first 20 minutes, the York House Tigers made the mistake of altering their basketball DNA, what has made them successful all season and the third seed for the provincial championships.
“Kalamalka is an athletic team, full of energy and they came out with tonnes of energy and we tried to match their energy and get up and down the floor,” said Tigers coach David Prissinotti.
Attempting to match their opponent had resulted in the third-seed Tigers being locked at 29-29 with the sixth seed Kalamalka Lakers through the first half.
“We just needed to calm down and play the game at our speed; we needed to play at our tempo again and just execute our offence,” he added. “We calmed down and took over in the third quarter.”
By the time the Lakers made their first basket of the second half, York House had rattled off the quarter’s first 11 points to take a lead they would not relinquish. That 11-point spurt also wound up being the margin of victory as the Tigers advanced to the final four with a 72-61 victory.
“The whole tempo of the game slowed down and we executed. And our skill players got their open looks from running our systems,” Prissinotti said. “And you exert less energy when you do that too.”
Mila Urban scored 16 of her 24 points in the second half, hitting three triples in the game, to lead the Tigers offence while Avery Ratcliffe scored 20 and Samantha Mark chipped in with 13.
The Lakers were led by Lily Lee’s 22 points as the Kalamalka sharpshooter was deadly accurate from beyond the arc, hitting four of her five attempts. Kristen Francks added 19 points and six steals.
With the win, York House advances to the final four. This is the program’s 20th trip to the 2A tournament, and they look to add their record eight titles, the last of which came in 2013. They won bronze in 2020.
“This is our 20th trip to the provincials – I have been coaching since 1998 – we have been to the final four so many times, I just feel super fortunate because it is a treat to be playing in the final four, those games that matter,” Prissinotti said. “It is always nerve wracking when you are the higher seed and I think our girls felt that pressure today. Final four is a huge accomplishment.”
The coach knows his team is in tough with the No. 2 seed Mulgrave Titans up next in the semi-final in a rematch of the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky zone final, won by the Titans.
The Tigers also enter the game minus Grade 12 guard Rain Thomas who exited the game with a broken nose.
“We are not very deep so that is a huge blow. But we are thrilled to be in the final four so we will see if we can come out of this weekend with a medal; that would be a huge accomplishment,” Prissinotti said.
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