Battling in the paint to score two of her eight points is Langley Christian's Kathryn New. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

TBI 2019 Elite Eight: Lightning strikes in defensive battle! Double A No. 1 LCS tops STM, faces Triple-A No. 1 OKM in Friday night Final Four

LANGLEY — It wasn’t too long ago when the Langley Christian Lighting were competing in the province’s small school Single-A tier.

Tonight (6:45 p.m.), the Lightning face Kelowna’s Okanagan Mission Huskies in the TBI 2019 semifinals, sitting a win away from a berth in Saturday’s championship final.

Maintaining poise and patience, and ultimately finding ways to execute in a physical, defensive-minded atmosphere, LCS held back a determined group of St.Thomas More Knights, forging a 58-43 victory in the second of four quarterfinal games at the Langley Events Centre.

In a tourney already themed by its tier-smashing, bracket-busting ways, the victory sets up a battle between the No. 1-ranked Double-A Lightning and the No. 1-ranked Triple-A Huskies.

Lightning head coach Dani Gardner appreciated how hard STM made them work as Langley Christian moves on to its first-ever TBI Final Four.

“They work their butts off, they’re really strong and aggressive and it’s always been that way,” said Gardner whose team last faced the Knights this past season in the B.C. Elite 8. “We played them last year and they went after us like that.”

St. Thomas More senior Gigi Gaspar (right) extends skyward in a loose-ball battle Friday morning against Langley Christian. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

Grade 10 Lainey Shelvey continued her superb play for LCS, scoring a game-high 15 points. 

As well, the senior quartet of Makenna Garnder (11 points), Ava Krepp (6), Kate Vanderzalm (6) and Abby Berg (2) combined for 25 points. Grade 10 Sydney Bradshaw had nine points, while Grade 11 Kathryn New added eight.

“They are the cornerstone of what we do,” Gardner said of her seniors. “We have a balance of old and young and they lead us in many ways.”

Kate Stewart-Barnett led the Knights with 14 points, while Gigi Gaspar added 13.

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