Maddy Gobeil didn't let a re-aggravation of her injured ankle slow her down as South Kam topped St. Thomas Aquinas for a chance to repeat as B.C. champs on Saturday. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

South Kam’s Maddy Gobeil re-injures ankle, shakes it off to carry her Titans past STA and back to B.C. Double A final

LANGLEY — The last couple of seasons here at the B.C. senior girls basketball championships, there have been two distinctly different units of time measurement in place.

There’s the regular ticking of the game clock which allocates 10 minutes per quarter over four quarters.

And there is another kind of time, one usually reserved for fourth-quarter stretch drives when games are still in doubt, and come rain or shine, the job must get done.

That measure of time is called Maddy Time.

On Friday, at the precise juncture of a B.C. Double A semifinal game between the St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints and South Kamloops Titan, a game which still had the potential to go either ways, a game, Titans star senior point guard Maddy Gobeil re-injured her already tender ankle and was taken off the floor for her own good by Titans’ head coach Del Komarniski.

When she returned, Gobeil was labouring, yet still managed to continue her torrid scoring pace en route to a game-high 31 points, to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals in a 62-58 victory.

“I took her out for a minute because she needed to recover,” said Komarniski. “It’s been bugging her for a while, so it’s been all taped up. But there was no way she was ever coming out. If I tried to do that, there would have been a battle.”

Instead, Gobeil battled on the court, helping the No. 1 seed and defending B.C. champs get back to Saturday’s 3 p.m. clash on the LEC’s Centre Court against the Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies in a rematch of last season’s final. 

The Grizz went to overtime to beat Langley Christian 74-68 in Friday’s other semifinal.

Gobeil wasn’t the only one with toughness, however.

St. Thomas Aquinas opened the game by scoring its first five points, but never led the rest of the way, absorbing a 20-0 South Kam run to trail 20-5 but still battled back to within four points with just under a minute remaining.

Gobeil had only been to the free throw line twice all game but wound up hitting three of four from the stripe to ice the contest.

“It was gritty,” admitted Komarniski afterwards. “STA played very well. They tested us. They made it very challenging to get things done. We had to persevere and we did.”

Slowing down STA’s Jessica Clarke (left, picture here on defence) was the top priority of the South Kamloops Titans on Friday at the LEC. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2019. All Rights Reserved)

The Titans put all of their effort into slowing the Fighting Saints 6-foot-3 forward Jessica Clarke, and although she scored 17 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, South Kam considered that a victory.

“I think we settled into our plan which was to slow their inside production,” Komarniski said. “Jessica was key for them and we wanted to limit her touches and I thought we did. But all of their other players came on and played well. I am just glad it ended the way it did.”

The Fighting Saints’ 6-foot Gemma Cutler had 13 points and 18 rebounds, but could have finished with a 20-20 double-double had so many of her put-back attempts not spun off the rim. Guards Caelan Prescott and Olivia Thorpe each added 12 points in the loss.

Forward Kendra McDonald proved every bit as key as Gobeil for large stretches of the contest, finishing with 12 points and 18 rebounds while Fiona Brisco added 13 with eight rebounds.

“The kids were really well-prepared,” said STA head coach Jon Prescott of his team. “We were healthy, practising well, and we had a big win over Britannia last night (in the quarterfinals). All the ducks were in aligned, so a tip of the hat to South Kamloops.”

Last season, the same two teams met in the semifinals, and on their way to the B.C. title, the Titans topped STA 71-52.

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