LANGLEY — Trixie Cruz was willing to play a hunch, and on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, it proved to be the difference for the Vancouver College Fighting Irish.
As the No. 2-seeded Fighting Irish clung to a 55-54 lead midway through the fourth quarter against the old-school, physically-minded and No. 18-seeded Terry Fox Ravens, the VC head coach signalled in a change and watched the game’s outcome take care of itself.
“We played Terry Fox earlier in the season. I knew they were going to be a physical team, and that (Fox’s) Richie Chambers is a great coach,” began Cruz. “They work every possession, so we knew we had it in for us. But luckily, in the fourth quarter, we switched to a zone defence and it worked in our favour and it showed why we’re a pretty tough team to beat right now.”
The change in schematics sparked a 14-0 run with about five minutes to play and led to the team’s 75-61 victory.
So how tough was it for Cruz to keep that zone in her back pocket, saving it for basketball’s version of a rainy day?
“This is the first time we’ve played zone this whole season,” said Cruz. “So actually, it was a risky move for us because we are a man-to-man team. I thought strategically it might be in our favour and it actually worked out.”
The Ravens were not hitting from the outside, and with 6-foot-8 Jacob Holt to anchor the zone, the Irish may have discovered yet another trick to pull out their bag when they face Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators today in a 3:30 p.m. quarterfinal. Key for Walnut Grove will be the way Gators are able to maximize the height that they have against the Irish. (Today’s full championship draw schedule below)
Holt scored 17 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter. Cole Cruz-Dumont had 15, Logan Prost 12 and Zyken San Felipe 10 for the winners.
Terry Fox got 17 points from Cody Hendriks and 11 from Aras Jahangiri.
“I think our boys had confidence that we could pressure and that we’d have each other’s back,” added Cruz. “I also know that Terry Fox wasn’t shooting well from the outside, and that they were killing us with their offensive wheel. We needed to do something about it and that’s why we switched to the zone.”
TOP HALF DRAW
2 p.m. — St. Patrick’s vs. Okanagan Mission (South Court)
3:30 p.m. — Burnaby South vs. Claremont (South Court)
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
2 p.m. — Yale vs. R.A. McMath (Centre Court)
3:30 p.m. — Vancouver College vs. Walnut Grove (Centre Court)
If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. VarsityLetters.ca and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.