MULGRAVE 54 SMUS 45
By Howard Tsumura
LANGLEY — Ask Claude Leduc about one of the most talented Grade 11 quartets in the B.C. senior girls high school basketball world, and head coach of the Mulgrave Titans seems to take a zen moment before offering his reply.
“They radiate calm, they radiate ‘We got this’ and they are helping the rest of the team find their groove,” he smiled.
Leduc is, of course, talking about the guard trio of 6-foot Ava Wilson, 6-foot Lucy Xu and 5-foot-11 point Jenna Talib, and 6-foot-2 forward Eva Ruse.
And on Thursday, all they did was combine for 50 points in a Super 16 quarterfinal win over Victoria’s St. Michaels University School Blue Jags.
“Wilson is our engine, she sets everybody up and makes everybody else look good,” said Leduc after watching her score a game-high 15 points.
“Lucy (11 points) and Jenna (12 points) can knock it down and Ruse (12 points) controls the boards. For this early in the season I think we have been pretty good.”
The Titans were able to get out in transition and do some early damage off the break, yet the Blue Jags still had their moments and never relented in playing a physical style of basketball.
“And they didn’t even have their best player,” Leduc said of injured 6-foot-1 senior Makena Anderson. “That totally changes things.”
Mulgrave, one of the province’s emerging programs under the stewardship of Leduc, has taken huge strides over the past few years, including last season’s journey to the B.C. Double-A title game where it suffered a 70-60 loss to the Langley Christian Lightning.
Now, the Titans are no one’s secret.
They have elected to test themselves on big tourney stages against the best of the rest of the province, regardless of tier, and Leduc knows it will ultimately be telling.
“We have to get used to the Triple-A, Quad A physicality and it can be tough.. but the girls competed tonight, and we shot it well and in transition we were really good.”
The Jags battled the length of players like Ruse and Wilson throughout, and were led by the dual 10-point outings of from guards Alex Motherwell and Avery Geddes, the latter scoring all of her points in the fourth quarter.
Mulgrave will face Walnut Grove in a 6:15 p.m. Super 16 semifinal tonight on Centre Court.
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