SOUTH KAMLOOPS 52 VERNON 28
By Howard Tsumura
LANGLEY — Kiana Kaczur was an impressionable sixth-grader back in the 2017-18 school year, and in March of that year she watched a South Kamloops Titans senior girls basketball team led by a special player named Maddy Gobeil win the B.C. senior girls Double-A title for er school.
All these years later, Kaczur is doing her best to carry on a Titans’ basketball legacy, and on Friday, in the championship final of the TBI’s inaugural Rising 8 tournament she set the tone for a team which led with lockdown defence in a battle of Top 10 Triple A teams.
In the end, No. 5 South Kamloops beat No. 7 Vernon 52-28.
Oh, and in what was a very low-scoring title affair, she also managed to score a game-high 17 points.
“My sister Kendra played on the same team as Maddy so I watched them every weekend, and Maddy was awesome to learn from,” said Kaczur of Gobeil who has gone on to a starring role in U SPORTS with Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Cascades. “In fact, I still watch her play.”
A part of junior varsity team which lost last season in the provincial final to North Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks 50-20, Kaczur and fellow Grade 11 teammates like Kylee Koppes and Lucy Marchese have helped re-inforce the base foundation of what is a relentless, tough-minded team, much like the mental and physical approach of both the school’s 2013 and 2018 B.C. championship teams.
And if they are keeping on the same five-year clock as their predescesors, then might a title-run be in the cards here in 2022-23?
All of that will ride on the amount of improvement they show over the rest of the season, but Kaczur already knows exactly who she and her teammates are as a team and why it’is a starting point for bigger things.
“I think a lot of our team is heart and determination… work really hard in practices,” she said. “We have that mindset to go for it and nobody gives up.”
Senior forward Grace McDonald stepped up with 13 points in the victory en route to Player of the Game honours for her team. Marchese added 12 mnore and Koppes another eight.
Vernon was led by the dual six-point outings of Lauren Hoard and Beth Butler.
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