The star of the show, Miah Schuurman, played like a force of nature against Pacific Christian during Day 4 championship game action at the 2024 B.C. senior girls basketball championships March 1, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Ryan Molag property Langley Events Centre-TFSE 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

Schuurman’s historic showing earns Unity Christian Flames first Single A title in five years in win over Pacific Christian’s Pacers!

By AARON MARTIN (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — If you’re put on the big stage, you’re expected to put on a big show.

In the B.C. senior girls Single-A championship final Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, Miah Schuurman and Chilliwack’s Unity Christian Flames more than obliged, delivering a high-flying, 83-75 win over Victoria’s Pacific Christian Pacers.

Schuurman, the 6-0 guard, was an absolute force, playing every second of the 40-minute contest while dropping a monstrous 42 points, 21 rebound double-double. The University of Fraser Valley (UFV) commit added three steals and three blocks for good measure.

“I think I worked hard,” underplayed the superstar senior. “When it mattered, I think I did what I had to do. Knowing that it was my last game really let me put everything out there. We were all working towards that same goal and holding each other accountable, and we did it.”

For the first time in recent memory, the Single-A championship game was played at the Langley Events Centre, complete plenty of media attention and a livestream broadcast. That environment, buzzing with the help of a sold-out crowd, was exactly what the Flames were looking for.

“We love it,” said head coach Kyle Smiens. “Talking to the other teams we’ve played, they just like being here. It’s nice to watch the other teams play, and just being a part of this is so good for our girls. They wanted to show, they wanted the lights – we’ve been begging for it for years, and it’s awesome to get it.”

However, it wasn’t just the lights that had Unity Christian on an emotional high coming into the contest. It was also who they beat to make it there.

The Flames came into the championship bout having knocked out Credo Christian in the semifinals by a score of 49-37, a school to which the Flames had lost each of the last four Single A Championship finals (COVID year notwithstanding). The Flames not only slayed their dragon, they came out and finished the quest against the Pacers.

“Credo is always a battle for us, and always will be a battle for us,” noted Smiens. “To get past that Credo game, and get mentally focused on this game, I’m so proud of the girls being able to do that.”

Aside from Schuurman’s brilliance, the championship clash also featured an all-world effort from the Pacers Grade 10 guard Kiki Tupas-Singh. Posting 34 points while earning Defensive Player of the Tournament honours, she was brilliant as the Pacers’ primary facilitator.

The game saw two big swings in momentum. The first was calculated – according the Smiens, a point of emphasis all season has been to dominate early in every quarter. Coming out of the halftime break up 44-40, Unity Christian did just that, as they took their first commanding lead with a 9-0 run right out of the gates.

The second stretch was towards the end of the third quarter, after an ankle injury sidelined Tupas-Singh for a couple of minutes. The Flames took full advantage of her absence and opened up a 14-point lead heading into the final frame.

That proved enough, despite the tenacious efforts of Tupas-Singh and Abbi Ellison, who notched 23 points of her own for the Pacers, and managed to get the lead down to as little as five in the final few minutes.

“I knew I was going to be disappointed, in a way, because it was my last game with my friends,” admitted Schuurman. “But coming into the tournament, I really just wanted to – we all wanted to – push through and get the win at the end. That’s been our whole goal. Our word for this weekend was ‘Grit’, and we were trying to live up to that and push through as much as we could.”

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