Britannia guard Shemaiah Abatayo will enter her senior season with the Bruins by leading the Vancouver school at the 2019 TBI. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2018. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

Girls 2019 Tsumura Basketball Invitational: Our 20-team field features some of B.C.’s blue-chip best, plus a core of rising newcomers

LANGLEY — We opened our week by presenting the 20 teams taking part in the eighth-annual boys Tsumura Basketball Invitational. 

Today, here’s our look at the field for the 20-team girls tournament, set to run Dec. 11-14:

TBI 2019


Brookswood head coach Chris Veale was all smiles as his Bobcats advanced to last month’s provincial Triple A Final Four. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

ARGYLE PIPERS — Plenty of height with a trio of six-foot-plus players in Gabby Francis, Ella Mellinghaus and Julia Gocol. Lower Mainland MVP Holly Brewer, a long-distance ace, is also back while Aiko Williams rises up to senior varsity from last month’s B.C.-qualifying JV team.

BRITANNIA BRUINS — Eight returning senior varsity players from a team entrenched with March Madness experience make the Bruins a team to watch. Surprise Munie and Shemaiah Abatayo among the very best rising Grade 12s in B.C.

BROOKSWOOD BOBCATS —They will feel the loss of a core of graduating seniors, however seven main rotation players return to make the next phase of their transition as smooth as ever. While able to play Triple A under the new regs, the 2019 surprise Final Four squad will play at Quad A for head coach Chris Veale.

BURNABY SOUTH REBELS — After wining B.C. titles as a head and assistant coach with the Rebels’ JV and senior boys teams respectively, Cody Cormack steps into the lead chair with Burnaby South’s best senior girls team since its 2013-14 edition won the Crehan Cup. Laini Glover, Awek Deng and Zyre Aspiras are a talented trio set to lead the way.

FLEETWOOD PARK DRAGONS — The Big Three for head coach Pam Reynolds are all rising Grade 11s in Priyanca Sundher, Mantoz Brar and Keerat Sidhu. Talented but young, the Dragons are a program on the rise.

G.W. Graham’s Megan Owens (4) guards Langley Christian’s Lainey Shelvey during B.C. Double A Final Four last March at the LEC. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2019. All Rights Reserved)

G.W. GRAHAM GRIZZLIES — You don’t replace a graduating senior as rare as Deanna Tuchscherer, yet there is so much returning talent here that GWG can set about re-inventing itself with a new identity. Rising Grade 10 Julia Tuchscherer along with rising senior twin guards Sydney and Megan Owens are among the many to watch. 

HERITAGE WOODS KODIAKS — A talented team which missed provincials this past season, they are bolstered by a JV squad which did make B.C.’s. Rising senior guards Jenna Griffin and Maddy Counsell lead the talented pack.

KELOWNA OWLS — While trying to discover a front-court identity, the Owls will lean on a quintet of talented returning guards including Rylee Semeniuk, Kassidy Day, Katrina Fink, Japleen Chahal and Nicole Torozan.

LANGLEY CHRISTIAN LIGHTNING — Based on their returning talent alone, they will be a force. Guard Makenna Gardner will arrive at her senior season as one of the province’s very best, leading a core of seven main rotation returnees for head coach Dani Gardner.

LORD TWEEDSMUIR PANTHERS — The all-sister backcourt of India and Alyza Aikins will be huge for the Panthers, as will three-point shooter Anna Bodnar and rising Grade 10 post presence Sahnya Gill. B.C.’s top-tiered provincial champions in 2017, Lord Tweedsmuir missed the provincial tournament this past season.

Okanagan Mission will lean on Melaina Corrado (left) and Makenna Jacklin (right) as they start their 2019-20 season at the TBI in December, (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

OKANAGAN MISSION HUSKIES — A contender to win it all, especially if they stay at their Triple-A tier, Huskies boast a quality returning core which got great experience as an Elite 8 team at this past March’s top-tiered B.C. draw. Melaina Corrado, Makenna Jacklin and Lily Pink are among the key returnees.

PANORAMA RIDGE THUNDER — They will be on the smaller side, but super quick. Rising senior guards Arman Dulai and Anjenna Dhaliwal will be leaders, while guard Shantelle Untalan, a rising Grade 11, will be playing her third season at the senior varsity level. 

R.A. MCMATH WILDCATS — Plenty of key returning players make the Richmond squad a Triple A provincial contender. Two-point opening-round loss at B.C.’s to Final Four-bound Brookswood scuttled this past season’s plans early, but the likes of Liz Kennedy, Marina Radocaj and Kate Carkner are all back a year older and wiser.

RIVERSIDE RAPIDS — Sammy Shields could be to B.C. girls basketball this coming season in terms of offensive numbers what Oak Bay’s Diego Maffia was to boys basketball this past season, and she is still only going to be in Grade 11. A very good JV team will bolster the ranks.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS FIGHTING SAINTS — If they are at full strength for the TBI, they will be a handful for everybody. Jessica Clarke, Gemma Cutler and Caelan Prescott are a trio of rising Grade 12s with more than their share of senior varsity seasoning.

Walnut Grove’s Sophia Wisotzki is ready to lead her young Gators at TBI 2019. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

ST. THOMAS MORE KNIGHTS — Three rising senior guards will be leaned on to show the way. Point guard Cassiel Penalosa, along with the sister pair of Gigi and Bella Gaspar bring ball-handling, three-point shooting and an attacking mentality.

TERRY FOX RAVENS — They could have more than held their own in the senior ranks last season as a Grade 9 team. The reigning B.C. JV champs make their TBI debut coming off a perfect season. Filled with talent, the all Grade 10 team was solidly six-deep against premier competition last season.

VALLEYVIEW VIKES — Led by its underclassmen, Kamloops’ Vikes are young but up to speed after a character-defining season spent at senior varsity as a near-exclusive Grade 10 team. Key rising Grade 11’s include point guard Indigo Learie, forward Jayden Overwater, and three-point shooters Jessica Orr and McKenna Reeves.

WALNUT GROVE GATORS — It’s a new era, yet four main rotation Gators, including the game-changing rising Grade 11 guard Sophia Wisotzki return for head coach Darren Rowell. Fania Taylor, Anneke Cairnie and Kait Samec are all back and more talent will arrive via the program’s younger teams.

YALE LIONS — Four returnees from a gritty senior varsity team, including the sister duo of guards Karishma and Neelam Rai, and an equally tough JV group which includes rising 5-foot-11 Grade 11 forward Marissa Rodde will continue to be among the province’s most relentless teams for head coach Bobby Braich.

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