LANGLEY — When the 2019 girls Tsumura Basketball Invitational tipped off Wednesday afternoon, eight teams from the B.C. Top 10 Quad-A rankings, issued that very day, were among the event’s 20-team field.
By the time Saturday’s third-place game concluded however, there was not a single team left standing in the quest for gold, silver or bronze from the province’s largest tier.
An historic week of re-establishing the new world order of B.C. senior girls basketball had arrived before the tourney’s championship final between Triple-A No. 1 Okanagan Mission and Double-A No. 3 Britannia had even tipped off.
All of that became a matter of record after the Double-A No. 1-ranked Langley Christian Lightning defeated the Quad-A No. 8 Kelowna Owls 56-44 in the TBI’s third-fourth place final.
Gritty and sure-handed in the half court, a Langley Christian team led by its star senior guard Makenna Gardner, was simply unflappable down the stretch as the Lightning built a late double-digit lead and were poised in its protection.
“It’s awesome seeing everyone working hard to get it done,” said Gardner, who along with teammate Kathryn New, scored a co-team high 16 points. “I just think it’s great that there’s a tournament like this one, where we get to play against (Quad-A’s), just to show that we can play with them. We’re here, we’re fighting, and we love it.”
The Owls trailed for virtually the entire first half until Katrina Fink hit a three-pointer one second before the break, sending the Owls into the half up 29-27.
Langley Christian, however, went on a 10-0 run between the third and fourth quarters to take its biggest lead of the game at 13 points (52-39) with six minutes remaining.
“I think key was our team defence, we got stops and all five on floor worked their butts off to get those stops,” said Langley Christian head coach Dani Gardner of that game-changing spurt. “And then on the offensive end, Kathryn and Syd (Bradshaw, eight points) were both huge for us. It was awesome to get it going.”
Ave Krepp added 11 points for the winners and Lainey Shelvey another four.
Kassidy Day was the lone Owl to reach double figures in scoring with 10 points. Nicole Torozan added seven while Chelsey Macaulay, Paris Kirk and Shia Holmes each added six points.
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