COQUITLAM — Welcome to the fourth and final day of the Centennial Top 10 Shoot-Out here at Centennial Secondary School.
Check back at Varsity Letters through the day today as we provide game reports from several of the four-day event’s placing games.
As well, we’ll have a separate posting on the championship final between Quad A’s two top-ranked teams — No. 1 Riverside and No. 2 Walnut Grove — over the coming days.
SMUS 63 OKANAGAN MISSION 52
COQUITLAM — St. Michael University School have gotten a vital piece of their starting rotation back in place, and now that Makena Anderson is healtHy and back in the fold, Victoria’s Blue Jags are playing like one of the province’s best teams… regardless of tier.
Missing due to injury just before Christmas at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational, the 6-foot-1 senior Anderson has had more than enough time to get back into the groove, and now that she has, Triple-A No. 3 SMUS has become one of those teams no one is going to want to play come March Madness time.
“We’ve done a lot of work since your tourney,” explained Blue Jags’ head coach Lindsay Brooke following her team’s 63-52 win over Kelowna’s Quad-A No. 3 Okanagan Mission Huskies.
“We didn’t have Makena earlier in the season and she is critical to what we do,” said Brooke after Anderson poured in 29 of her game-high 33 points in the first half as SMUS took a 39-22 lead into the half.
“She is our scorer, and teams have to guard her so it changes how teams play defence against us,” continued Brooke of Anderson who sunk five three-point baskets in the win. “And she can do her damage from the three and inside. She is a tough cover for a lot of people.”
The Blue Jags have really stepped up their play in recent weeks.
Just last week, in the second round of the MEI Eagles Invitational in Abbotsford, SMUS edged Quad-A No. 2 Walnut Grove 70-69.
“I would say we’re playing really consistent right now,” added Brooke. “Defensively we are dialled in. We are holding good 4A teams to 50 points, so that is really critical to our success… our defence.”
Avery Geddes added 14 points for the winners, while Alex Motherwell added eight.
Maya Andruchow led the Huskies with 15 points, Faith Hunter added 13, Kanani Coon 11 and Payton Frisen scored seven of her nine points in the second half.
ABBOTSFORD 74 R.A. MCMATH 67
COQUITLAM — Match two of the best players in the province head-to-head in a battle of No. 1 versus No. 2, and you have a right to expect fireworks.
On Saturday, Marina Radocaj and Malia Lenz surely did not disappoint.
Radocaj, McMath’s sensational 6-foot-2 senior forward, poured in a game-high 47 points, however it wasn’t enough in the end for Richmond’s Triple-A No. 2-ranked Wildcats to turn away the No. 1-ranked Abbotsford Panthers who were led by the 38 points of senior guard Malia Lenz.
“It was very crazy and a lot fo fun to watch,” admitted Abbotsford head coach Prentice Lenz after his team held on to win the fifth-sixth place game at the Centennial Top 10 Shoot-Out by a 74-67 score. “There was some exciting basketball being played out there and it was just exciting to be a part of it.”
Radocaj, the Arizona State-bound star, battled through what she initially thought might have been a broken nose, her blood-stained jersey serving as an exclamation mark to the all-out effort she expended in the loss.
“We were missing one of our starters today in Caitlin Kippan,” began Radocaj of her 5-foot-11 senior teammate. “We all had to try and fill in that gap, so I just played my hardest and got everyone involved. It was for rankings, so everyone of us wanted to win, even though I almost broke my nose.”
The Vermont-bound Lenz was also superb, hitting six triples on her way to a team-high outing. Sorell Lenz added another 11 in the win.
Radocaj, as dangerous and versatile as they come, was equally effective battling inside as she was playing off the bounce, or dialling up one of her six triples.
Radocaj, in fact, hit all six of her treys in the second half.
Mirella Fernandes Boshell added eight points for the Wildcats.
SOUTH KAMLOOPS 65 MULGRAVE 44
COQUITLAM — The South Kamloops Titans prescribe to a pretty simple formula when it comes to hitting the road and playing winning basketball, and on Saturday, it was a recipe beyond reproach.
“Playing teams down here, we had to get really gritty and dig deep and we’re not th biggtest team,” said Titans’ star Grade 11 guard Kiana Kaczur, “but we’re physical and we don’t give up. We’ve gotten a lot tougher throughout these tournaments.”
Over a first-quarter blitz in which the Triple-A No. 4 Titans steam-rolled out of the gates to a 17-2 lead over West Vancouver’s Double-A No. 1 Mulgrave Titans, there was no way to miss the intensity that South Kam had brought to the seventh-eighth place game.
Kaczur, in fact, was unstoppable.
As part of a game-high 21-point outing in which she finished with six triples, the 5-foot-6 guard hit three opening-quarter treys.
“We move the ball well as a team and it felt peretty good in rhythm,” the humble Kaczur said afterwards, “so I have the mindset to just catch and let it fly.”
A pair of fellow Grade 11 guards also hit double fiugures in scoring on offence.
Kylee Koppes scored 13 points and Lucy Marchese added 12 points. Koppes and Marchese each hit a trio of triples as South Kam finished with an even dozen makes from downtown on the day.
Eva Ruse led Mulgrave with 16 points, Jenna Talib added 11 more, and Ava Wilson finished with nine. Mulgrave played without the services of injured 6-foot Grade 11 guard/forward Lucy Xu.
YALE 51 SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 45
COQUITLAM — There are not a lot of guarantees in high school basketball, but one that seems pretty close to automatic is a down-to-the-wire game every time Abbotsford Yale Lions and the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs of Vancouver meet each other this season in B.C. girls high school action.
On Saturday, in the consolation final at the re-born Centennial Top 10 Shoot-Out, Samara Mason scored 10 of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Quad-A No. 7 Lions rallied to top the No. 5 Bulldogs by two possessions.
All of that comes on the heels of a 54-52 Bulldogs’ win back on Dec. 14 in the opening round of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre.
“It was such a close game last time, and coach Dykstra is top shelf,” said Yale head coach Bobby Braich of SWC bench boss Simon Dykstra. “I know he loves playing us and we love playing them. These are battles, which is what you want. The girls get to settle it on the floor.”
On a comical note, Yale’s outstanding senior captain and floor general Maggy Curtis was forced to play the entire game wearing a Churchill jersey after discovering she was without her dark, road Yale jersey.
Nothing slowed Curtis down as she guided her team to the victory, her dribble-drive penetration dish to Mason leading to a bucket that put the Abbotsford squad ahead 49-44 with 3:34 remaining.
“Samara had a great game today, she showed up tough, Maggie is our go-to and our captain and she played well today and was tough and Jay is a tough load for anybody,” said Braich of a senior triumvirate which aslo included 6-foot-1 post-forward Jay Hidebrand.”
In addition, Grade 11 guard Hannah Singh scored 12 points for the winners.
Stefanie Hart scored 15 points to lead the Bulldogs, while Louise Dykstra added 10 points and Emily Zhang another eight.
After opening with a 68-49 loss to Triple-A No. 2 McMath Wildcats of Richmond on Wednesday, the Lions bounced back with wins over Double-A No. 2 Langley Christian (53-39) and Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies (88-35).
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