LANGLEY — Welcome to Day 1 from the 2018 TBI!
We’ve got reports from all eight games played today. And at the bottom of this posting, we’ve got Friday’s full schedule of consolation and championship round games:
SWEET 16 OPENING ROUND
TOP HALF DRAW
RIVERSIDE 81 BRITANNIA 77
LANGLEY — The Riverside Rapids are a work in progress, and the fact that they entered TBI 2018 as B.C.’s No. 2-ranked Quad-A team tells you they have the potential to produce a masterpiece.
Meanwhile, East Van’s Britannia Bruins at times, looked like a team will contend for the B.C. Double A championship.
On Thursday, in the Round of 16, the Rapids left things a little late against a talented but free-throw challenged squad of Britannia Bruins, trailing by as many as 15 points in the third quarter but rallying back behind a stream of treys to pull out an 81-77 victory.
Sammy Shields led the uprising with 34 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter. She hit seven treys, five of which were drained over the final frame.
“It’s funny because our coach reminds us that we can also lose to anyone,” said Rapids senior guard Jessica Parker, the UFV signee who scored 15 points. “We’re a roller coaster team right now. We have the talent, but we just have to step up.”
Case in point?
Last weekend at an invitational in Victoria, the Rapids went down 20 to Brookswood, but came back to win by four.
Yet the Bruins have to be kicking themselves because if they hadn’t gone 11-of-24 from the stripe on the game, the Double-A No. 7-ranked squad they may well have pulled a huge upset.
Tessa Burton scored 17 points for Riverside while Alanya Davignon added nine.
Britannia’s Surprise Munie scored a game-high 31 points, while point guard Shemaiah Abatayo scored 24, Jasleen Bahia scored nine points.`
The Rapids will meet North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints in a 4:45 p.m. quarterfinal Friday.
The Bruins had built a 15-point lead at 48-33 partway through the third quarter, but as they continued to miss from the free throws, they gave the Rapids a chance to re-discover themselves.
When Sammy Shields drove in for a lay-in with 7:10 remaining, Riverside had pulled to within 61-60.
And when Jessica Parker stroked a triple with 5:15 left, the Rapids were ahead 68-63.
A Shields’ triple with 3:48 left made it 71-65 for Riverside but behind Munie and Abatayo the Bruins just kept coming.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 54 CENTENNIAL 50
LANGLEY — Kristinn Black’s two free throws with nine second remaining were just enough to keep the foes at bey as North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints exacted a 54-50 opening-round win over Coquitlam’s Centennial Centaurs.
“We had a tough game in our league last night (a two-point win over Argyle) and now we come in and get another one against a great team like Centennial… you can’t replicate this in practice,” said STA head coach John Prescott of maintaining poise and winning tight games down the stretch early in the season.
“These are tough games and they really help you work on your composure,” said Prescott, whose team entered the game ranked No. 2 in the latest B.C. AA poll.
Centennial’s Grace Killins, the SFU-bound guard, was a standout in scoring a game-high 23 points, including going 11-of-13 from the free throw line as the Centaurs, who were locked in a 24-24 halftime tie.
Dahlia Parolin with nine points and Kate Bennett with eight supplemented Killins’ output in a low-scoring contest that was tied at 44-44 partway through the fourth quarter.
Oliva Thorpe led the Fighting Saints with 17 points while Paisley VanderMye added nine, and Caelan Prescott and Gemma Cutler eight apiece. STA’s 6-foot-2 Grade 11 post Jessica Clark was away attending a Basketball Canada age-group evaluation.
Last season, STA advanced to the B.C. semifinals, and coach Prescott admits it was a big step in the team’s maturation process.
“We were a Final Four team last season with no Grade 12s so this year we have high expectations,” said Prescott, whose team will meet the Britannia-Riverside winner in a 4:45 p.m. TBI quarterfinal Friday. “We’re excited about the whole process of the season but we also know there are so many excellent teams out there.
KELOWNA 85 FRASER HEIGHTS 30
LANGLEY — Jaeli Ibbetson scored 16 of her game-high 28 points in the first quarter, setting a tone that carried through the game as the defending B.C. AAA champion Kelowna Owls beat Surrey’s Fraser Heights Firehawks 85-30.
Kelowna, which got balanced scoring throughout its lineup, will face the Abbotsford Panthers in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday.
Marli Gallagher and Katrina Fink each added nine points for the winners while Kassidy Day and Nicole Torozan each scored eight.
Fraser Heights, coming off an impressive second-place finish at last season’s B.C JV championships, lost four front-line rotation players to other programs over the off-season.
Yet Firehawks head coach Wayne Best wasn’t using it as an excuse.
“At the end of the day we didn’t compete at our very best because we got out-worked,” Best said. “Yeah, they were better than us, they have more skill than us, but they can’t outwork us. Teams don’t outwork us. If we get beat they have to earn it.”
Teah Best led the Firehawks with 18 points while Kya Cleto added eight.
Fraser Heights moves to the consolation draw where they will face Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies on Friday (1:15 p.m.).
ABBOTSFORD 80 G.W. GRAHAM 64
LANGLEY — Marin Lenz is back for her Grade 11 year better than ever.
And she’s got veteran teammates in the senior pair of Beryl Kithinji and Kelsey Roufosse to lean on.
Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of new faces in the line-up of the 2018-19 Abbotsford Panthers.
“There is definitely a contingent that has been around for a long time,” smiled head coach Prentice Lenz after his team kept a hard-working crew of G.W. Graham Grizzlies at arm’s length Thursday in a TBI opening-round game at the Langley Events Centre. “But I also don’t think I’ve subbed that much in 22 years. So we have a lot of new pieces and if they decide they are going to compete and play, then I think we could really do some good things by the end of year. I am having a lot of fun with this group.”
The go-to trio are providing plenty of under-my-wing opportunities for that new group of Panthers.
Marin Lenz was so in the groove that at times, she seemed to score at will.
Lenz finished with a game-high 42 points, 21 of which came over the first half against a Grizz team playing without the services of 6-foot blue-chip senior Deanna Tuchscherer, away on Canada Basketball duty. Lenz poured home 18 points in the third-quarter alone. Kithinji added 13 and Roufosse 11 in a game that the Panthers led just 36-31 at the half against last season’s B.C. AA runners-up.
Julia Tuchscherer, the 6-foot-1 Grade 9 led the Grizzlies with 24 points. Aliza Dueck added 13 and Nicole Campbell 11.
“There are a lot of new pieces this year,” added Lenz, who graduated the likes of Sienna Lenz, Sydney Fetterly and Marissa Dick from last season’s team. “It will take some time for us to adjust and grow but hopefully by February we’ll get there. It’s no easy process to come into a new year and find out who you are, and that is that is our struggle right now. If we can play hard and compete, the rest of the pieces will come.”
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
R.A. MCMATH 59 SOUTH KAMLOOPS 42
LANGLEY — These are not last season’s R.A. McMath Wildcats.
Reinvented from the inside-out over the off-season, with Grade 11 point guard Liz Kennedy installed as it’s go-to scorer, and 6-foot-2 Grade 8 forward Marina Radocaj lending a game-changing look in the paint at both ends of the floor, head coach Chris Kennedy’s ‘Cats played it scrappy on defence and opportunistic on offence to upset the defending B.C. Double A champion and No.-1 ranked South Kamloops Titans.
Full disclosure: South Kamloops was missing its 6-foot-6 Grade 12 Olivia Morgan-Cherchas, the UBC-bound post who was away on Canada Basketball duty.
Yet it was still a case of hats off to McMath for earning a berth to Friday’s quarterfinals (4:45 p.m.) against Brookswood, after they schemed to try to slow the Titans’ UFV Cascades-bound guard Maddy Gobeil, last season’s AA tourney MVP.
“We had a real game plan today, we knew we had to stop Maddy and so we used a box-and-one or we doubled her every time,” said Kennedy. “We were committed to making other girls beat us and they struggled making baskets early on. Then we got on a run and hit some threes, and every time they got within 12, we hit a three. They never made a good run at us all game and so for a young team early in the year, that is a great win for us.”
Gobeil, supremely talented and tough, will likely use Thursday’s game for inspiration the rest of the season.
She finished with a team-high 19 points in a low-scoring game, but 17 of those points came in the second and third quarters.
For the Wildcats, Kennedy looked especially comfortable when using her strength and dribble to attack in the half court.
Her 21 points were a game high, while senior Jayna Wilson added 12, Grade 10 Abby Bodden 9 points and Radocaj seven.
“It’s a brand-new system without Abby Zawada and all of those girls we’ve had the last few years,” said Kennedy. “Liz has already gone for 30 points a couple of times this year. She knows it’s her role.”
But the coach also knows the committee must be present, and that includes the likes of Bodden, Kate Carkner and Radocaj.
“We can’t be Liz and friends, like we were Abby and friends in the past,” Kennedy said. “We have to be more well-rounded.”
Liz Kennedy played 38 minutes and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed.
Radocaj played the same 38 minutes as Kennedy.
“Seven points, but she probably also had 10 blocks,” coach Kennedy said of Radical. “Just her presence, having 6-foot-2 in the middle when we don’t ever get big kids, it makes people change their shots. Teams know she is coming so they are all just a little big tighter.
BROOKSWOOD 78 WHISTLER 28
LANGLEY — The Whistler Storm have been hit by such a heavy dose of their own namesake that by the time they limped into Langley in Thursday to open TBI 2018, they hardly resembled the team that qualified for the B.C. AA championships last March.
“Life’s not fair, right?” Whistler head coach Al Kristmanson, the former longtime Canadian national team player said when asked to address the injury wave which swept through his team in recent weeks, with two ACL injuries and a concussion shrinking the Storm’s ranks to only six players.
“But you have to battle back,” he continued. “You have to try not to feel sorry for yourself, but I think tonight we did. So that’s what I am going back to talk with them about.”
Even with a healthy roster, they’d have had their backs to the wall against a title-contending Brookswood team.
Yet three weeks ago they lost Ryan Kristmanson to an ACL injury, then three days after that lost Lauren Wentzel to an ACL injury. This past weekend, Ayden Kristmanson suffered a concussion at a tournament in Victoria.
A pair of Grade 10s led the winners. Neyha Lali scored 15 points, while Mackenzie Cox added 14. Senior Janessa Knapp scored 10 points.
Pietra Kamstra led the Storm with 15 points while Jenna Tobias added seven for a team which managed just one made field goal in each of the first two quarters.
Brookswood faces the South Kamloops vs. R.A. McMath winner in a 4:45 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday.
“I am so proud of these kids,” added Kristmanson, whose team is back in action at 1:15 p.m. Friday against the South Kam-McMath loser. “We don’t play at home ever. These girls decided they wanted to see what the next level looks like and they have all put in a ton of time. We’re such a small school, we’ve got about 25-to-30 girls in Grade 11 and 12, and we can’t afford injuries. But we’ve been devastated by them.”
WALNUT GROVE 100 VALLEYVIEW 51
LANGLEY — Scott Reeves knows it’s a trial-by-fire for his young Valleyview Vikes.
Yet the head coach of the Kamloops-based squad is pretty certain that every excursion into the waters of blue-chip competition is doing a lot to season his team for a healty senior varsity future.
“You can talk about it all you want in practice but until you’re actually put up against a Tavia (Rowell) or a Jessica (Wisotzki), they don’t really have any clue what I’m talking about,” Reeves explained, referencing the two elite senior stars his near-exclusive Grade 10 Vikes faced in a one-sided loss to the AAAA No. 4-ranked Walnut Grove Gators. “But this is a great experience for them, and all I am asking is that they work hard.”
Rowell poured home a game-high 32 points, while Wisotzki scored a further 24 in the victory. Fellow senior Ro Taylor added 15 points, while her Grade 9 sister Fania Taylor added 18 more.
Indigo Learie scored 13 points to lead the Vikes, while Amanda Morrison scored 12 points.
Before the game, Reeves warned his girls.
“I said ‘Be ready for this,’” said Reeves, “and they think in their heads they know. But the actual experience?”
All of that said, Walnut Grove advances to face AA No. 6 Langley Christian in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday.
The Vikes get Quad A Heritage Woods in yet another test, that game tipping off at 11:30 a,m. Friday on the consolation side of the draw.
Valleyview beat both Royal Bay and St. Michaels University School to advance to the finals of an invitational in Victoria last week, losing in the tourney finals to current AA No. 9 Seycove of North Vancouver.
LANGLEY CHRISTIAN 67 HERITAGE WOODS 62
LANGLEY — Makenna Gardner and Hailey Van Roekel not only scored 18 points each, but were at their most clutch over the dying seconds as the AA No. 6-ranked Lightning held off Port Moody’s honourable mention Heritage Woods Kodiaks.
Gardner, the Grade 11 standout, hit a pair of free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining to put her team on top 65-62.
Van Roekel, a senior guard, followed with two more of her own to put the game out of reach.
“That was a great team and both teams battled,” said Lightning head coach Danie Gardner. “It’s a new year, we’re a young team and we’re figuring out where all of our pieces fit.”
The Lightning, who will face the winner of today’s Walnut Grove-Valleyview game in 3 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday, are testing themselves against AAA’s best teams.
Last week, they fell to defending B.C. AAA champ Kelowna in the quarterfinals of the UFV Classic in Abbotsford.
Grade 9 Lainey Shelvey scored 10 points for LCS, while Grade 9 Taelor Coxford added eight more.
Guard Jenna Griffin and post Emily Instant led the Kodiaks with 17 points each. Rachael Tomlinson scored 10 points and Breona Martin nine.
TOP HALF DRAW
4:45 p.m. — St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Riverside (south court)
3 p.m. — Kelowna vs. Abbotsford (south court)
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
4:45 p.m. — Brookswood vs. R.A. McMath (centre court)
3 p.m. — Langley Christian vs. Walnut Grove (centre court)
TOP HALF DRAW
11:30 a.m. — Centennial vs. Britannia (centre court)
1:15 p.m. — Fraser Heights vs. G.W. Graham (south court)
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
1:15 p.m. — Whistler vs. South Kamloops (centre court)
11:30 a.m. — Heritage Woods vs. Valleyview (south court)
If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any other website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. VarsityLetters.ca and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.