Semiahmoo's Tara Wallack and the rest of the Totems were every bit in mid-dynasty form Wednesday as they opened play at the B.C. Quad-A championships. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

Quad-A girls Day 1: Your home for live game reports all day as the 2020 B.C. championships tip-off at the LEC

LANGLEY — Welcome to Day 1 of the 2020 B.C. senior girls Quad-A championships.

Please check back on this posting throughout the day as we continue to update the eight sudden-elimination games on tap.




Semiahmoo’s Izzy Forsythe scored 24 points as the Totems topped the Prince George Polars in opening round play at the B.C. Quad-A championships. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Dan Kinvig (Special to Varsity Letters)


LANGLEY — Semiahmoo Totems head coach Allison McNeill felt her team had a few opening-game-of-provincials nerves to work out on Wednesday morning as they launched their B.C. 4A title defence against the Prince George Polars.

Yet if those nerves existed, they were awfully hard to detect.

The top-seeded Totems were in control from the outset, leading for all but eight seconds of the game’s 40-minute duration. They opened a 39-10 lead at the end of the first quarter behind 14 points from Izzy Forsythe, and managed to find an even higher level in the second, outscoring the Polars 32-0 in the frame for a 71-10 halftime lead. They eased their way home from there, and only a buzzer-beating triple from Prince George’s Quinn Daku at the end of the fourth quarter kept the margin of victory out of triple digits.

Afterward, Polars head coach Jeff Parish could only shake his head in admiration of a Semi squad which has now won 54 straight games vs. B.C. competition over the past two seasons.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Parish, whose team had staged a stirring comeback from a 14-point deficit vs. North Peace to qualify for provincials out of the North Central zone. “It’s a good experience for the kids, and some good memories.

“They’re a well-developed team, they’re structured, and they’ve got great skills. Great team.”

Seven Totems scored in double figures, led by Tara Wallack (26 points, 11 rebounds), Forsythe (24), Madelyn McKinnon (20) and Raushan Bindra (15 points, seven assists).

Nina Gajic’s 11 points paced the Polars, and Julia Kreitz scored six.

Semiahmoo moves on to face the Earl Marriott-Heritage Woods winner in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

“Their team never quit – they worked hard, and they’re tough,” McNeill said of the Polars. “They played us almost straight man-to-man, and that builds kids.

“I played in this tournament way back when, and now coaching in it, everybody’s nervous because it means something to you. I think we had to get a few nerves out, and it was good for us.

“We tried to run through a few things and see if we could challenge ourselves to find different things in our offence, and not transition so much. And I thought they went hard to the boards, so we had to do a good job blocking them out.”

Heritage Woods’ Jenna Griffin led her Kodiaks past Earl Marriott and into the B.C. Quad-A Elite 8. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Dan Kinvig (Special to Varsity Letters)


LANGLEY — The Heritage Woods Kodiaks made an impressive debut in the 4A draw, cranking up the defensive heat on the Earl Marriott Mariners.

The Kodiaks, employing withering full-court pressure before falling back into a 2-3 zone defence, had the Mariners under duress throughout the first half. Senior guard Jenna Griffin was the tip of the spear on the press, fueling Heritage Woods’s transition offence. When the Kodiaks were forced to play in the halfcourt, 6’2” centre Kiara Kozak dominated. It all added up to a 47-16 halftime lead for the No. 8 seed from Port Moody.

The Mariners found more traction offensively after the break, but by then it was too little, too late.

“Our defence matters so much to us,” Griffin said afterward. “A lot of the reason why we win is because of how hard we work on the defensive end. And it really, really flows into our offence.”

Indeed. The Kodiaks got off to a solid start, opening a 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, with four different players connecting on shots from beyond the arc. But it was in the second quarter where they truly hit their stride – Griffin wreaked havoc at the top of the press as Heritage Woods outscored Marriott 25-7 in the frame to break the game open.

The Mariners steadied the ship in the second half – they took advantage of their size across the lineup to make inroads in the paint, and Sydney Chapman hit a trey at the third-quarter buzzer to give their fans something to cheer about. But the Kodiaks were never in danger, maintaining a lead of 20-plus points the rest of the way.

Griffin’s 26 points were a game-high, and she added four steals. Maddie Falk hit four three-pointers on her way to 18 points, and Kozak (12 points, 15 rebounds) had a double-double.

Chapman led the Mariners with 14 points and nine boards, and Esmeray Demibas scored 13.

Heritage Woods faces a huge test in the quarter-finals, taking on top seed Semiahmoo, but Griffin noted that the underdog label is one her team is comfortable with.

“Heritage has always been seen as an underdog,” she said.

“You know, they (Semiahmoo) are a good team. I know a lot of the girls – I’ve played on the provincial team with a lot of them, so it’ll be fun to play against them. It’ll be a really good challenge for us. We’ve played against tough competition all year, so it’s not any different. We’re super-excited for tomorrow.”


B.C. Quad-A’s two-time defending Top Defensive Player Sophia Wisotzki of the Walnut Grove Gators was on a Jordanesque PPM scoring spurt Wednesday as Langley powers opened 2020 at The Big Dance. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)



By Dan Kinvig (Special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — It’s hardly a secret at this point that Sophia Wisotzki is among the elite players in the province, but her first-half performance on Wednesday was incredible even by her lofty standards.

The Walnut Grove Gators’ Grade 11 standout erupted for 26 points over the first 20 minutes of her team’s first-round provincial 4A match-up vs. the Cowichan Thunderbirds, adding six rebounds, three steals and two assists over that stretch as the Gators opened a 52-16 lead at the break on their way to victory.

“That was a special outing for her,” Walnut Grove head coach Darren Rowell said of Wisotzki, who last year as a Grade 10 earned top defensive player and second team all-star honours at the B.C. 3A tournament.

“This year she’s been really distributing well, pushing the pace, and maybe scoring a little bit less because she’s trying to get everybody else so involved.

“She’s very unselfish – she looks for her teammates before she looks for her own shot. We were telling her today to attack and take the shots that are there.”

Both teams started tentatively – Grove opened a 12-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but Cowichan battled back to within 16-10.

The second quarter, though, belonged to Wisotzki and the Gators – they blitzed the Thunderbirds 36-6 in the frame. When Wisotzki wasn’t pilfering steals at the defensive end, she was swishing long triples or weaving past defenders on her way to the rim.

The Thunderbirds rediscovered their mojo in the third quarter, taking advantage of their superior size to outscore the Gators 24-14, but Walnut Grove tightened up the defence in the fourth and cruised to the win. They advance to face the Kelowna-Claremont winner in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Wisotzki finished with a game-high 33 points to go with eight rebounds and five steals, and Fania Taylor (22 points, four assists) and Kiera Pemberton (14 points, eight boards) also chipped in offensively for Grove.

Mackenzie Hall’s 15 points paced the Thunderbirds, while Eden Funk and Alyssa Klotz scored 14 apiece.


Kelowna’s Grade 11 forward Paris Kirk helped her Owls to a decisive win over Victoria’s Claremont Spartans. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Dan Kinvig (Special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — With a 15-day break between games leading into Wednesday’s provincial 4A opener, the Kelowna Owls needed a quarter-plus to shake off the rust.

But once they did, they announced themselves as contenders, turning in an airtight defensive performance in a blowout win over the Claremont Spartans.

The Owls limited the Spartans to single-digit scoring in three of the four quarters – and only an 11-point fourth from Claremont prevented Kelowna from going 4-for-4.

The offence, meanwhile, heated up as the game wore on. After shooting just 25 per cent from the field in the first quarter – after which they led 12-7 – Kelowna shot a scorching 52.5 per cent the rest of the way. They advance to Thursday’s quarter-finals to face the Walnut Grove Gators.

“We haven’t played a game for a little while,” said Owls head coach Darren Semeniuk, noting that his team’s last game action came Feb. 11 vs. league rival Penticton. “Our zone, we didn’t have a playoffs basically – all the other teams just kind of let us go. So we haven’t had that warm-up.

“The first quarter-and-a-half, we got our feet wet a little bit and we could see some nervousness and rust shed off. It was good to see some girls get comfortable and shoot the ball like they know they can, and we got out in transition a little bit.”

Kelowna took over the game in the second quarter, outscoring Claremont 26-8, and they continued to expand the lead from there.

Rylee Semeniuk led the charge, going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc on her way to a game-high 19 points, Katrina Fink scored 13, and Shiah Holmes had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.

Reese Manns was the Spartans’ top scorer with 16.



8 p.m. — NO. 2 TERRY FOX vs. NO. 15 JOHN OLIVER

We have a special look at this game. Check the main page at for more.


Lord Tweedsmuir’s India Aikins is leading her Panthers on a game of survival, and the next chapter unfold on cue Wednesday at the LEC. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers have been in “survive and advance” mode for more than a week already, and as such, they looked perfectly at home on Wednesday as they entered the pressure-cooker of the B.C. championships.

The Panthers had to win four straight do-or-die games just to get to the 4A tournament – most recently, a wild-card win over Brookswood – and their comfort level in high-stakes environments was readily apparent as they produced the first upset of the day in the LEC’s South Gym.

“We’ve been up against it the last few games, and the girls have responded really well,” Lord Tweedsmuir coach Mike Mitro said. “Our leaders have led, and that’s been a key for us.

“The sisters said, ‘We’d like to play in the provincials together. Let’s get it done.’ And they did. They’ve been huge.”

Mitro was referring to the Aikins siblings – India (Grade 12) and Alyza (Grade 11) – and they led the way once again for the Surrey-based Panthers.

In what was easily the loudest 4A game of the day – both teams had significant cheering sections – Lord Tweedsmuir raced out to a 22-11 lead, but Burnaby South got eight straight points from Diya Sehgal (two treys and a pair of free throws) to trim the deficit to 22-19 early in the second quarter.

Alyza Aikins, though, came up with a couple of momentum-shifting steal-and-layup sequences, and the Panthers reeled off a 17-4 run to grab a 39-23 halftime lead.

They continued to push the pace after the break, and extended the lead beyond the 40-point threshold in the fourth quarter.

India Aikins racked up game-high totals for points (25) and assists (four), and added 12 boards and three steals. Younger sister Alyza posted 18 points, six boards and five steals, and Puneet Dhindsa chipped in with 13 points for the Panthers, who move on to face the Terry Fox-John Oliver winner in Thursday’s quarter-finals.

Senior wing Awek Deng scored a team-high 16 points for the Rebels, and Sehgal finished with 11 points.



Sammy Shields, the San Jose State recruit, showed her Riverside teammates she knows the way to the Elite 8. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — Sammy Shields got the Riverside Rapids over the hump early, then made space for her teammates to thrive in an opening-round victory over the Mount Baker Wild.

The 4A tournament’s No. 3 seed from Port Coquitlam started a bit slowly – the score was stuck on 12-7 in favour of the Rapids for several minutes in the middle stages of the first quarter. But Grade 11 standout Shields caught fire over the last three minutes of the frame as Riverside’s lead ballooned to 29-11. She poured in 15 points in the quarter, highlighted by a trio of triples.

The Cranbrook-based Wild face-guarded Shields to open the second quarter, limiting her to just three points in the frame, but her teammates – most notably Brooke Kendal – took advantage of the extra space and continued to extend the lead. It was 52-22 at the half, and Riverside was off to the races from there.

“I just wanted to get out there and be strong in our first game,” said Shields, who is making her third provincial appearance at the LEC. “Just get all the nerves out and just start out strong. I think we accomplished that. It was a good first game for us, good win.

“I have a lot of confidence in my teammates. Brooke and Maria (Kim), they drive it hard to the rim, and we have a lot of shooters on our team, like Francine (Basiga) and Lucy (Caldwell). I have a lot of confidence in them scoring for us.”

Shields finished with 25 points and five assists on her way to player of the game honours, and Kendal racked up a game-high 27 points highlighted by 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Venica Davignon stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Caldwell (12 points) and Basiga (11) also chipped in offensively for the Rapids.

Senior forward Josie Mackie (17 points, eight boards) led the charge for Mount Baker, and Ashley Giesbrecht scored 13.

Riverside moves on to face Yale in the quarter-finals at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.


Julie Dueck was a primetime slasher for the Yale Lions in their win over the Handsworth Royals on Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)

LANGLEY — Among the higher seeds in the 4A draw, the Yale Lions’ recipe for success is rather unique.

The Abbotsford-based squad isn’t going to intimidate anyone with their physical stature – Grade 11 forward Jayden White, at 6’2”, is the only six-footer on the roster. But they’ve got a seemingly endless stream of perimeter players who are equally adept at draining the three-pointer or slashing to the rim.

“We score by committee, and it changes every game,” Yale coach Bobby Braich said in the aftermath of Wednesday’s 75-36 triumph over Handsworth in their provincial tourney opener. “Today it was Julie Dueck who stepped up, and tomorrow it’ll be somebody else.”

“We had (current UVic Vike) Tana Pankratz last year, and we’ve had to replace her with eight or nine slashers who work hard on defence. We really stress the team concept, so they share the ball. Everything on offence for us comes out of good defence, so we tend to put a lot of emphasis on defence to hopefully springboard in transition.”

The Lions got rolling in transition early, scoring the first seven points of the game and racing out to a 20-6 lead after one quarter. They extended the margin to 40-20 at the half, and sealed the deal with a dominant 20-5 performance in the fourth quarter.

Dueck racked up 17 points, and Karishma Rai knocked down five three-pointers to tie her for team-high scoring honours. UFV Cascades signee Kyleigh Boldt chipped in with 15 points, and White hauled down 12 boards. Yale will face the Riverside-Mt. Baker winner in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Grade 10 standout Sam Mark paced the Royals with 10 points, and Francesca Roccuzzo and Aidan Chubb scored eight apiece.

“One of the disadvantages going into this game for both teams, we hadn’t seen each other this season at all, even from a distance,” Braich noted. “No tape, no film, very little in terms of scouting. We’re kind of going on other coaches’ hearsay. So we switched it up between man and zone (defences), and we were able to kind of slow them down a little bit.

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