Here’s our look at all four games played Thursday in the Elite 8 quarterfinal round at the B.C. senior girls Double A basketball championships.
TOP SIDE DRAW
BRITANNIA 56 VERNON 37
LANGLEY — Mike Evans likes what seniors can bring to a line-up, especially when the calendar turns to March.
Yet the head coach of Vancouver’s Britannia Bruins is certainly not adverse to having younger players who carry a similar spirit.
“You can never have enough Grade 12s,” Evans said after the likes of Lucy Guan, Devon Herrin, Karalee Antoine and Malena Mokhovikova brought their senior influence to the fore in its decisive win over the Vernon Panthers. “And luckily we have a couple of Grade 10s who play like 12s. We showed a lot of poise and maturity and I hope that we can continue with that.”
Those special Grade 10s of which Evans spoke?
Guard Shemaiah Abatayo scored a game-high 20 points and even ripped down nine rebounds for the Bruins, while fellow guard Surprise Munie had 13 points and another nine caroms.
Mokhikova and Guan each scored nine for the winners, who 52 weeks ago, fell in the same quarterfinal round to the Langley Christian Lightning.
“It’s huge,” Evans said of getting to the Final Four. “That was our goal… to improve on last year. We came fifth, so we said ‘Let’s try to get to the semifinals.’”
They had to first solve the Vernon defence.
The Panthers stationed 6-foot Grade 11 standout Kelsey Falk at the top of their 1-2-2 zone and made the Bruins work.
“She is very good, very long and we were worried that it might negate us,” Evans said. “And we didn’t get a lot of post play with all of our foul trouble. But I think we have all the parts to get to Saturday afternoon.”
That, of course, is in reference to the 3 p.m. B.C. championship final being staged on the Langley Event Centre’s Centre Court.
Falk led the Panthers with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Mackenzie Horst had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
G.W. GRAHAM 68 DUCHESS PARK 64
LANGLEY — Jaya Bannerman has had a lot of significant events happen this week.
First she signs on for a university basketball career with the Trinity Western Spartans.
Then she’s named to the Baden BCSSGBA Top 15 B.C. Dream team.
It’s enough to make a kid lose her focus.
Yet wasn’t that Bannerman, the G.W. Graham guard, going 10-of-13 from the free throw line, scoring 26 points and helping her Grizzlies into the B.C. AA Final Four on Friday?
Teammate Deanna Tuchscherer had 22 points and 27 rebounds, and the Grizz edged Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors 68-64.
Sydney Lopez scored 19 points for the Condors, Rebecca Landry added 15 and Logan Cruz 10.
G.W. Graham and Britannia tip off at 8:45 p.m. on Friday at the LEC’s Centre Court.
BOTTOM SIDE DRAW
SOUTH KAMLOOPS 72 LANGLEY CHRISTIAN 59
LANGLEY — Maddy Gobeil made 14 free throw trips and scored a game-high 32 points to lift the Titans to a hard-earned win over the hometown Lightning and to the next step on its deep post-season journey.
“It’s all so exciting,” said South Kamloops senior guard Katharine Walkley. “It’s everything we’ve worked for. Everything we have done this year is to be in this position.”
That, of course, is headed to the Final Four, where a victory tomorrow (7 p.m.) against North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Saints would propel them into Saturday’s championship final.
While Goebeil was commanding things from the front-court, teammate Olivia Morgan-Cherchas was having another efficient day down low, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Lauren Walkley added 11 points.
For the Lightning, Makenna Gardner continued her torrid shooting pace with 24 points, including 7-of-7 from the stripe.
Hailey Van Roekel added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Natasha Dickoff another 11 rebounds for Langley Christian.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 66 OKANAGAN MISSION 56
LANGLEY — The 2017 B.C. junior varsity champions from North Vancouver are growing up, but most important of all, still playing the game with a sense of joy.
“They are a very closely connected group,” said head coach John Prescott after his St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints outlasted Kelowna’s Okanagan Mission Huskies for a berth in Friday’s B.C. senior varsity semifinal against the South Kamloops Titans.
“Arguably our best player is Jessica Clarke, and she is best buddies with my daughter Caelan, and when games end they just want to hang out, they just want to go and have fun, and that is what you’re seeing reflected here. They see (basketball) as an opportunity in their lives to play, and I mean that in the sense of play. But they’re also maturing and showing more composure and you saw a lot of that tonight.”
Clarke, the 6-foot-3 Grade 10 forward has continued to improve her game since being named the JV MVP last season.
On Thursday, she finished with a most impressive double-double of 22 points and 21 rebounds, shooting 10-of-16 from the field, with six of her rebounds coming off offensive glass. Guard Oliva Thorpe hit four triples and finished with 16 points and Gemma Cutler, a 6-foot Grade 10 forward, had eight points and 10 rebounds.
OKM shot just 25 per cent from the field, hoisting 84 shots including 45 from distance (12-of-45).
Lily Pink led the way with 15 points while Malley Richardson added 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Fighting Saints, consisting solely of Grade 10 and 11 players, know they are in tough against a very tough-minded Titans team.
“We’ve been talking the last two weeks about composure, they’re stil young kids and we don’t have a No. 14 on the floor,” Prescott said, referring to South Kamloops’ 6-foot-6 forward Olivia Morgan-Cherhcas. “So we’ve worked with the girls on realizing where we are at in games and to make smart decisions.
“We are an inside-out team and so we have to look for our big,” he added. “Our guards are buying in and it’s branched off from there, so we’re seeing maturity.”
And, of course, South Kam point guard Maddy Gobeil is one of the most physical scoring forces in the B.C. senior varsity ranks this season.
“They have an inside presence and (Gobeil) is a powerful person,” said Prescott of the Baden BCSSGBA Super 15 B.C. Dream Team member. So like tonight, it’s going to take a collective effort from out team to be successful. But it’ also going to be fun.”
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