LANGLEY — It might be the collection of teams with the best geographic representation in the province when it comes to top 10 teams.
The race for the B.C. senior girls AA title in 2019 has a favourite in the defending champions from the Okanagan zone, yet they have some very stiff competition right behind them from North Vancouver’s finest.
Here’s the early look:
1 SOUTH KAMLOOPS TITANS
A run to March Madness’ B.C. title in early March was just the start for head coach Del Komarniski and Co. With MVP guard Maddy Gobeil and 6-foot-6 forward Olivia Morgan-Cherchas leading a talented group of rising seniors, the Titans’ title in 2018 has set the bar for yet another celebration in 2019.
2 ST. THOMAS AQUINAS FIGHTING SAINTS (North Vancouver)
Head coach John Prescott’s group has done nothing but play big games every February and March. In 2017 it was a B.C. JV title. This past season, it was a senior AA Final Four loss to eventual champion South Kamloops. The entire roster returns led by rising Grade 11 forwards Jessica Clark and Gemma Cutler, and a group of guards that includes the likes of Kristinn Black, Paisley VanderMye and Olivia Thorpe.
3 G.W. GRAHAM GRIZZLIES (Chilliwack)
After falling in the B.C. final to South Kam, the Grizz will feel the loss of Jaya Bannerman, Syd Fraess and Julia Sprott, yet there is a lot of talent returning, led by rising seniors in forward Deanna Tuchscherer and guard Eliza Dueck.
4 ST. THOMAS MORE KNIGHTS (Burnaby)
Lone senior starter Julie Spagnuolo departs but a huge rotation of experienced underclass players return, led by rising senior guard and shooting machine Emma Stewart-Barnett. Brooklyn Monks and Shiloh Corrales-Nelson are a pair of rising seniors who patrol the paint with authority
5 DUCHESS PARK CONDORS (Prince George)
Plenty of talent returns for head coach Louise Holmes. The Condors have developed into a consistent provincial contender and returnees like Rebecca Landry, Jasmin Schlick, Hannah Loukes, Brynn Dergousoff and Logan Cruz keep them in the race again.
6 LANGLEY CHRISTIAN LIGHTNING
The former Single A powerhouse is in the midst of perhaps its greatest cycle of talent. Post Natasha Dickhof graduates, but the strength of the team is actually in its rising Grade 11s, led by superb guard Makenna Gardner.
7 WHISTLER STORM
The former Olympian Alan Kristmanson guides an ultra-talented group which is coming off a breakthrough campaign in which it made its first-ever provincial senior varsity championship tournament berth.
Ayden Kristmanson, Jenna Tobias and Pietra Kamstra combined to average 41 ppg last season and all are back, as is rising Grade 10 Ryann Kristmanson, now eight months into ACL recovery.
8 VERNON PANTHERS
Head coach Lonnie Mazurak’s group will be attempting toi make it 15 straight trips to the provincials in 2018-19. Rising seniors Kelsey Falk and Emilia Durfeld, and rising Grade 11 Kelsey Watts are among the Panthers to watch as an eight-deep rotation is back.
9 BRITANNIA BRUINS (Vancouver)
All four of its graduating players — Malena Mokhovikova, Karalee Antoine, Lucy Guan, Devon Herrin — held key roles for head coach Mike Evans, yet a tremendous group returns, led by guards Surprise Munie and Shemaiah Abatayo. Plenty of depth and opportunity for new leaders to reveal themselves.
10 VALLEYVIEW VIKES (Kamloops)
They are unknown at present to a large degree, yet they are on a rapid rise, and the entire group, coached by Thompson Rivers’ HC and former Brookswood boss Scott Reeves, returns as a complete team of rising Grade 10s which will make the jump to senior varsity. With Okanagan Mission moving to AAA, the Vikes will get their league tests from defending champion South Kamloops.
Point guard Indigo Learie, shooting guard McKenna Reeves and forward Jayden Overwater lead a team which played at the LEC this past March in the B.C. junior tourney.
HONOURABLE MENTION — Seycove Seyhawks (North Vancouver), Southridge Storm (Surrey), St. Michael’s University School Blue Jags (Victoria), Little Flower Academy Angels (Vancouver), Smithers Gryphons
(B.C. Secondary Schools Basketball Association)
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