Kelowna's Nicole Torozan (centre) scoots through the paint against McMath's Liz Kennedy (left) and Kate Carkner. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

TBI 2019 Elite Eight: Depth, shooting, athleticism carry Kelowna Owls to decisive win over Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats

LANGLEY — The 2019-20 Kelowna Owls are taking head coach Darren Semeniuk on a trip down memory lane.

With a bevy of guards and an emerging pair of post players, the current edition that Semeniuk has cajoled into the Tsumura Basketball Invitational semifinals tonight (8:15 p.m.) following its decisive 70-39 win over the R.A. McMath Wildcats reminds him a lot of his first Owls’ team back in 2016-17.

“When I first came in it was Courtney Donaldson, Ally Corrado… and we had some bigger girls, but they weren’t the centre piece,” recalled Semeniuk. “Like that team, we are very guard heavy this year with (forwards) Shiah Holmes coming along and Paris Kirk a work in progress.”

Kelowna’s Abbey McCann (left) blocks a late shot attempt by McMath’s Abby Bodden during quarterfinal TBI play on Friday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

Very much like the Kelowna senior boys team, which last week lost in its TBI championship final, the current Owls don’t have that one, or even two players you’d call the team’s true stars.

On Friday, in its win over Richmond’s Wildcats, 10 Owls hit the scoresheet, five players hit threes, and three hit double figures in points, led by the 16 of Tessa Bentley.

That first season, Semeniuk remembers discovering what kind of team he had right around the Centennial Top 10 tournament, which happens in early January.

And as you have watched them evolve over their first two games here at TBI, they will likely play to their strengths of shooting and athleticism, while hoping the development of the front court allows more options to be deployed.

“I want transition, I want to put pressure on defences and I want lay-ups or threes,” said Semeniuk. “We’re starting to show that different girls can shoot the three. It’s not just one or two (players) that teams have to match up against. If we can get Shiah manning the inside, grabbing some rebounds and scoring some points, it could pull the defence in even more, then we can really space the floor.”

Katarina Fink added 12 for the winners, and Chelsey Macaulay 10.

Liz Kennedy led McMath with 13 points, with Kate Carkner adding 12.

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