Riverside's Tessa Burton digs in on defence against Royal Bay's Mikayla Strandberg during opening-round action Thursday at the B.C. senior girls Triple A basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2018. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

FINAL EDITION! 02.27.19 Day 1 edition from the B.C. senior girls Triple A basketball championships

Thanks for your patience. We have now completed our coverage of Day 1 at the 2019 B.C. Junior Girls Championships. All the game reports follow below, complete with photos, but first, a look at tomorrow’s championship draw schedule.



11:45 a.m. Yale vs. Kelowna, 1:30 p.m. Semiahmoo vs. Okanagan Mission, 


3:15 p.m. Riverside vs. Brookswood; 5 p.m. Walnut Grove vs. Robert Bateman






Semiahmoo’s Raushan Bindra and the rest of the Totems were decisive winners Wednesday as the AAA field’s No. 1 seed. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

LANGLEY — The final game on the Triple A slate was as challenging for North Peace as expected, yet they played hard and with enthusiasm throughout.

Semiahmoo lived up to its No. 1 seed by playing unrelenting defence, falling two points shy of limiting the opposition to under 10 points in each of the four quarters.

North Peace, which was led by the 11 points of Celine Quigley, scored 11 points in fourth quarter.

Tara Wallack stuffed the stat box for the Totems with 25 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, five assists and four blocks.

Also registering double-doubles in the win were Izzy Forsyth with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and Faith Dut with 17 points and 17 rebounds.

The Totems will face Okanagan Mission, the lowest remaining seed in the field at No. 8 in a 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday.

All eight of the higher seeded teams won their games on Wednesday.

OKM’s Melaina Corrado (left) gives chase to Abbotsford’s Marin Lenz on Thursday during Sweet 16 action at the LEC.


LANGLEY — They beat Lord Tweedsmuir in a sudden-elimination game played in Merritt just to have the chance to enter the field of 16.

They drew an Abbotsford Panthers’ team which, while not as deep and experienced as it has been in past years, still had a big advantage in battle-tested games.

And like we’ve said before, they were playing at AA last year.

“But I told the girls before the game ‘Don’t just settle for being here,” head coach Meghan Faust said of her Okanagan Mission Huskies. “Let’s see what we’re capable of, and they did it all. They wanted it so bad and the Grade 12s stepped up huge.”

That was Jenna Robinson with 22 points and Jordan Robb with another 18. Grade 11 Melaina Corrado added 16, and Grade 10 Makenna Jacklin scored 17.

Forty minutes of game clock later, they were 14-point winners and headed for Thursday’s Elite 8.

The win came just after OKM’s junior girls team also advanced to the Elite 8 with an upset win over North Vancouver’s Argyle Pipers.

“When we stepped on the court to do our shoot-around yesterday I could just feel their energy,” said Faust. “They were not only excited and in awe of being on Centre Court here, but they were ready to work and get ready to get what they needed to do, done.”

Marin Lenz, perhaps the most prolific scorer in the field, scored 41 points and added six rebounds, eight steals and four assists.

Beryl Kithinji added 11 points in the loss.


Scoring 34 points to lead her Yale Lions to victory, Tana Pankratz was at her best as the B.C. championships opened Wednesday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — Tana Pankratz is starting the final week of her school basketball career like hurricane.

The UVic-bound Pankratz, a dynamic, wide-spanning 6-foot-2 force, scored a game-high 34 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, including seven off the offensive glass, as the Lions topped the Nanaimo District Islanders in the opening round of play.

Pankratz led five Lions in double figures on offence.

Karishma Rai had 21 points, and sister Neelam Rai 17 more. Lily Borseth had 16, Keyleigh Boldt 10 and Brooklyn White, another UVic-bound senior, had nine points and 14 rebounds.

The victory sets up a clash with the Kelowna Owls in an 11:45 a.m. quarterfinal on Thursday.

Nanaimo District got 14 points from Sessaly Buck and 10 rebounds from Ava Alexander, nine of which came off the offensive window.

No. 5 KELOWNA 94 No. 12 MT. BAKER 46

LANGLEY — The Kelowna Owls are the defending champs until someone unseats them, and on Wednesday they set about making an early statement in their first game of the B.C. tournament.

Pitted against one of the better Mt. Baker Wild teams to come down from Cranbrook in many seasons, the Owls took a 26-3 lead after the opening quarter of play en route to a 94-46 victory which pits them against Abbotsford’s Yale Lions in an 11:45 a.m. quarterfinal Thursday.

Hustle stats were also a solid indicator of the Owls’ effort, including 23 steals on the game, as well as plus-17 in the turnover battle.

Jaeli Ibbetson was at her best with 28 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Kennedy Dickie was within range of a triple double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals. Guards Kassidy Day and Katrina Fink scored 11 and 10 points respectively.

Mt. Baker, tough-minded, held their own with Kelowna on the glass, getting a 25-point, 11-rebound effort from 5-foot-10 Grade 10 Kiara Ker. Kaliana Ewaskow had 11 points.



No. 2 WALNUT GROVE 102 vs. No. 15 LORD BYNG 54

Walnut Grove’s Sophia Wisotzki gets a well-deserved hand from her teammates after she comes off the floor having scored 21 points in a B.C. tourney Round-1 win over Lord Byng. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

LANGLEY — Sophia Wisotzki has been too good for too long now to not to have more of the spotlight, yet Walnut Grove’s star Grade 10 guard isn’t wasting the time that she has remaining to glean the secrets of leadership from the team’s talented trio of university-bound seniors.

“I try to watch them, how they lead so well, how they act and what they do on the court,” Wisotzki said Wednesday of a trio that includes her sister Jessica Wisotzki (Simon Fraser), B.C. Player of the Year Tavia Rowell (Grand Canyon), and Rolande Taylor (Trinity Western).

“They are my role models and I just feel like as team we have grown because they have shown such good leadership and we can all follow their example next year.”

Yet with just three more days remaining for the trio in their high school careers, the young Wisotzki is showing that she is more than ready to fill a huge void next season.

In a 102-54 win over Vancouver’s Lord Byng Grey Ghosts to open the Gators’ draw here at the provincial tournament, the Grade 10 was looking every bit as senior-laden as her role models.

While Rowell poured home a game-high 27 points, and Jess Wisotzki 26 more, Sophia was busy adding 21 more of her own to go along with four steals, three assists and three rebounds.

Earlier this season, in a game against Brookswood, the 5-foot-8 shooting guard scored 48 points and made 11 treys.

Yet that is just half of her game.

Last season, after the Gators lost to Kelowna in the B.C. championship game, Sophia Wisotzki was named the tournament’s Top Defensive Player… as a Grade 9.

“I felt like I took more of a leadership role after I got the Defensive Player Award,” Wisotzki said. “I had a role on the team of being a good defender and not just scoring a lot.”

Fania Taylor added 13 for the winners. Maggie MacKay scored 18 for Lord Byng while Juliette Kladko and Sierra Jaggs added 14 points apiece.

No. 7 ROBERT BATEMAN 87 vs. No. 10 ARGYLE 48

Robert Bateman’s Jayden Gill put up an impressive double-double in the Timberwolves’ win over the Argyle Pipers. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

LANGLEY — The Robert Bateman Timberwolves came as close a you can to qualifying for the 16-team provincial tournament last season.

And when you’re part of a senior girls program which has never made the journey, it can be a pretty powerful motivating force.

“We lost to Brookswood in the play-in game and this year we were hungry for it,” said head coach Dan Village. “The girls were ready for this game. When you play the Fraser Valley teams we have all year, you get accustomed  to the competitiveness in Triple A, and these girls have played in provincial tournaments in three of the last four years. This year we really wanted redemption for our squad after we missed out on a berth.”

A wire-to-wire leader against the Lower Mainland champion Argyle Pipers en route to an 87-48 win, Bateman bolted out to a big early lead but had to remain focused against a Pipers team which slowed the game’s pace and played especially solid defence throughout the second and third quarters.

Four Wolves reached double-figures on offence, led by Jayden Gill, the soon-to-be Trinity Western Spartan, who scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.

Amira Jensen added 16, Karsen Lazeo 11 and Jenna Gill 20. Kayla Wilford had seven points and 12 rebounds.

Hope Pearmain led the Pipers with 13 points, while Camie Ward scored 12.

Bateman is set to face the winner of another opening-round game between No. 2 Walnut Grove and No. 15 Lord Byng in the Elite 8 round 5 p.m. Thursday.

“Our message is that we’re going to give our next opponent a game,” said Village. “We want to be competitive all week. We want to win every game. We want to show the Fraser Valley and show the Lower Mainland that teams from Abbotsford going east come from a hotbed for basketball. We want to keep it that way.”


Riverside Rapids’ senior star Jessica Parker’s winning recipe Thursday in a round one win over Royal Bay: Two Eggos, seven triples and a game-high 33 points. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

No. 3 RIVERSIDE 108 vs. No. 14 ROYAL BAY 49

LANGLEY — Riverside Rapids’ coach Jeremey Neufeld was looking pretty chipper as the Port Coquitlam team arrived here for the dreaded 8:45 a.m. opener on Day 1 of the provincial tournament.

“We got to sleep in this morning,” Neufeld said.

Come again?

If other teams cringe at the thought of the early-morning game, the Rapids have embraced it because all season long, their practices start at 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m. if Neufeld and coach Paul Langford are feeling generous.

With all of that in mind, the Rapids hit the Langley Event Centre’s Centre Court hardwood and shot the basketball like they were in a dream state.

The Rapids hoisted 93 shots and hit at a 42 per cent clip, including 21-of-44 from three-point range.

And within those numbers, it at times looked like the team’s top three scorers couldn’t miss.

Jessica Parker, Sammy Shields and Tessa Burton combined to score 78 of the team’s 108 points. Parker went 7-of-13 from distance for a game-high 33 points and 10 rebounds, Shields went 6-of-16 from deep for 26 points and Burton 5-of-9 for 19 points. Alanya Davignon had six points, three assists and a game-high 13 rebounds.

“Because we are up so early in the morning for practices, we’re just there already, ready to compete,” said Parker, the immensely talented senior, BCSSGBA Top 15 select and soon-to-be Fraser Valley Cascade. “We go so hard in practice every morning, so I think that is a benefit. We’re just always prepared in the morning.”

Parker was so on point with her shot, and every other aspect of the team’s schematic seemed to dovetail against a talented and hard-working Ravens’ team from Victoria.

“That’s a good team, I know they beat Terry Fox earlier this season,” said Parker. “It was pretty crazy, I am not going to lie, the flow was there. I don’t know, we were just on fire.”

Emily Daitl led the Ravens with 14 points while Maggie Fehr grabbed 12 rebounds, including eight off the offensive glass.

Since they had more time than usual in the morning, did the Rapids plan a team breakfast?

“No,” said Parker. “I ate two Eggos this morning. I usually have eggs in the morning but today I had Cheerios and Eggos. I didn’t feel like making breakfast, and it worked out OK.”

Jenessa Knapp (10) and the Brookswood Bobcats were able to edge R.A. McMath and guard Liz Kennedy on Wednesday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)

No. 6 BROOKSWOOD 70 vs. No. 11 R.A. MCMATH 68

LANGLEY — Brookswood Bobcats head coach Chris Veale looked out of breath after his team survived a dramatic finish to edge the Lower Mainland runner-up Wildcats.

“Get the defibrillator out,” sighed Veale.

In the end, No. 6 seed Brookswood held on for a 70-68 victory over the scrappy No. 11 seed Wildcats and will advance to face their Fraser Valley rivals, the Riverside Rapids, in a 3:15 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday.

Veale hoped the benefit of having to scrap for survival would carry over into Thursday’s game.

“That’s what we said to the team,” Veale continued. “We don’t have an easy draw and we knew McMath was going to be tough. We’re hoping that this sharpens us up. It’s the B.C.’s and no one is bad getting here.”

Especially McMath, a very young team coming out of Lower Mainland zone which this season, did not provide top-drawer competition for its best teams throughout the league campaign.

“They play a lot of these close games and we’re not battle-tested that way,” said McMath head coach Chris Kennedy. “Two of our girls in the rotation (Marina Radocaj, Caitlin Kippan) are Grade 8s, so this is a brand new experience for them.

“It will be interesting to see how we respond and that they understand this is part of a building process for the next two to three years. But I am super-proud of the effort. Most people thought we were going to lose by 40 today. Brookswood is in the same conversation as Walnut Grove and Riverside. We get one bounce and we’re moving on, and they’re not.”

The Bobcats battled through McMath’s junk defences, including a triangle-and-two. 

Jenna Dick scored 24 points in the win, while teammate Jenessa Knapp added 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Jayna Wilson hit six treys and finished with 28 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.

Liz Kennedy had 16 points, five assists and five rebounds, while Radocaj had six points and 11 rebounds.

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