LANGLEY — Sage Stobbart looked lost.
The tears were welling up, and while the rest of her Seycove teammates were celebrating the thrill of their lives Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, the Seyhawks’ 6-foot-2 forward stood transfixed, unable to find a shoulder to embrace.
That’s how big the moment was.
Thankfully, she found her teammate, 5-foot-6 point guard Kayla Krug, and the pair embraced, safe in the knowledge that their final high school basketball game was their best.
After losing in last season’s Telus B.C. senior girls Double A championship final, they now knew what it felt like to stand on the other side.
“This is definitely the dream,” said Krug, the team’s general, who scored 17 points in addition to directing her team and earning first-team all-star honours as the Seyhawks held off the Vernon Panthers 69-54 to win the school’s first senior varsity hoops title. “This is the best team I have ever played for and I wouldn’t have wanted to win this with anyone else. Today, everything turned out the way it was supposed to.”
The Seyhawks had been installed as the pre-tourney favourites, but they had only beaten No. 10 seed Britannia by four points in the recent Lower Mainland final, and on Friday, they needed a late rally to beat South Kamloops in the semifinals.
Yet come Saturday, they were every bit the veteran team, the one which returned the majority of its main rotation from last season’s championship finals loss to Duchess Park and seasoned it through a 2016-17 campaign they vowed would end on the LEC’s Centre Court, in the B.C. finals again.
“This was one year in the making,” said Seycove head coach Darcy Grant. “We didn’t have our best game yesterday, but at shootaround this morning, we went through the game plan and every girl on this team was so dialled in. We set a goal and today, we achieved it.”
The Seyhawks were simply on point in every phase of their schematic.
Stobbart, who mysteriously morphed into a jump shooter against South Kam, returned to her office in paint to provide 14 rebounds, and her 26 points came both inside and outside en route to being chosen tournament MVP and Top Defensive Player.
Krug, looking like a high school version of Simon Fraser’s intangible-filled point guard Ellen Kett, made so many great decisions with the ball, feeding not only Stobbart but Lindsey Bott, Ashley Bradshaw, Stephanie Laube and Naomi Bradshaw with regularity.
Vernon, physical and relentless, didn’t make it easy.
Relying on a seven-player rotation, the Panthers trailed 35-19 after the first half, and although more themselves in the second, could never get close enough to claim genuine momentum.
Nonetheless, they were worthy contenders, getting 20 points from Mackenzie Horst, 19 from Megan Roualt and 10 from Brianna Falk.
Seycove graduates six main rotation players, and it is a group Grant suspected early on had unique potential.
“We always knew there was something special about this group,” Grant said of himself and fellow coaches Geoff Russell and Brittany Parker. “You never know if you will get to a provincial championship, but we believed in the process and hard work. We just went to work each day and in the end it all came together.”
And when it did, the Seyhawks were there for each other, celebrating the feeling that had eluded them 365 day ago.
ALL-STARS — Krug, Roualt, Brianna Falk, Langley Christian’s Hannah Krepp and Maddie Gobeil of South Kamloops were picked to the first all-star team. The second team consisted of Horst, Bott, Ally Lincoln of South Kamloops, Katelyn Mallette of Langley Christian and Mikayla Hoey of Ballenas.
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