South Delta's Alexa Kusel (left) has her lay-up attempt stopped under the hoops by MEI's Jazmin Avila on Friday in a TBI girls quarterfinal game at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

Tsumura Girls Basketball 2021: Here’s how Terry Fox, South Delta, Langley Christian and Riverside all found their way to Friday’s Final Four at the LEC!

LANGLEY — Final Four Friday is set here at the 2021 girls Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre.

In the 6:45 p.m. opener, Double A No. 1 Langley Christian meets Quad-A No. 6 Riverside.

In the 8:15 p.m. finale, No. 1 Quad A Terry Fox battles Quad A No. 10 South Delta.

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QUARTERFINALS (All games on Centre Court)


LANGLEY — The South Delta Sun Devils have been the surprise team of the 2021 TBI, but Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles have not been too far behind.

And with that preamble, it was no surprise to see the tightest game of the tournament play out on cue.

“We knew it was going to be barn-burner after we watched their (Sweet 16) game against McMath (on Thursday),” said elated South Delta head coach Sharon Butler. “MEI and ourselves play very similarly with tenacious D, and pushing it in transition. They play clean and hard, aggressive and physical, just like we do.”

All of that added up to a tremendous contest.

MEI led 24-20 at halftime, yet the Devils’ 9-0 run to open the third quarter proved huge to the final outcome as South Delta led the the low-scoring game 35-34 heading into the fourth.

The Sun Devils led 50-43 with 1:02 remaining after Alexa Kusel hit one of two free throws, but the Eagles never quit.

MEI’s Jazmin Avila, who scored her team’s final six points, including a short baseline jumper which made it 50-47 with 4.6 seconds remaining.

Kaija Rutledge, however, iced it with one of two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Rutledge led the winners with 16 points, point guard Kusel scored 12 and forward Kira Denney added 10.

For MEI, Avila scored a game-high 20 while fellow forward Marijke Meindertsma had 11.

Terry Fox point guard Cerys Merton is book-ended defensively by Churchill’s Marah Dykstra (left) and Claire Huang during TBI 2021 quarterfinals Dec. 17, 2021 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — Some would simply call it ‘basketball survival’.

Ask Terry Fox Ravens’ coach Mike Carkner about all the ways in which his team flipped the script on Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs over the second half of its TBI 2021 quarterfinal clash on Thursday to win 71-69 and he prefers to refine it to “battle-tested.”

“These kids are battle-tested since they were younger and they know how to win despite playing very poorly,” said Carkner. “All credit to Churchill though. They played a great game. But I thought our kids, we didn’t shoot the ball. We made a lot of bad decisions, but they are just a tough bunch of kids.”

The No. 1-ranked Ravens found themselves in the somewhat unusual position of trailing the No. 4 Bulldogs 37-33 at halftime in a Quad-A battle of super powers.

And even when they clamped down on defence to start the third quarter, the result a 16-2 run to wrest back control of the game, the Bulldogs just kept coming back.

It wasn’t until Carkner subbed in three-point ace Kianna Frost with .07 seconds remaining in the third quarter that Terry Fox did enough to ultimately hold on for the win.

With barely enough time to get into a shooting motion, Frost’s trey somehow beat the backboard’s shot-clock lights to give the Ravens a 58-49 lead heading into the fourth.

Then, just 12 seconds into the fourth, Ravens’ Emily Sussex hit another triple for a 61-49 lead.

In under 13 seconds between the quarters the lead was suddenly 12.

“Those quick threes changed the game for us, totally changed the flow of the game,” added Carkner.

Ana-Maria Misic led the Ravens with 16 points, Taylor Matthews had 15 and Cerys Merton 11. Alisha Weloy was excellent defensively as Fox rallied in the third quarter.

Churchill’s Marah Dykstra was guarded well by Fox but still found a way to score a game-high 26 points. Claire Huang had 12 and Amber Hemrich nine.

Langley Christian’s Mattyea Tuninga (left) and SMUS’ Avery Geddes come together (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)



LANGLEY — Taking the St. Michaels University School Blue Jags’ best shot is enough to do in most teams.

The Double-A No. 1 Langley Christian Lightning, however, are no ordinary team and they showed that Thursday by providing a fourth-quarter answer to the St. Michaels University School Blue Jags’ epic third, beating their No. 2-ranked rivals from Victoria 71-65.

Trailing 36-23 at the half, the Blue Jags made a huge comeback, and on a basket by point guard Avery Geddes with just a handful of seconds remaining in the third quarter, tied the score at 47-47.

In the end, however, the Lightning’s triumvirate proved to be too much as Taelor Coxford (20 points), Lainey Shelvey (17) and Sydney Bradhsaw (16) combined to score 53 points.

“I thought we had moments where we did some good things, but there are still lots of things to work on,” said LCS head coach Dani Gardner. “We looked great at times, though, which is good. SMUS is a great team, and hopefully we get to see them again.”

Many think that might be in a provincial title game in March.

Geddes led the Jags with 20 points, while Makenna Anderson and Sophie Olcen each scored 11. Charlotte Hardy added nine.

As referee Keith Hartup (left) keeps his eyes glued to the action, Riverside’s Olivia Wheatley (right) gives chase to Brookswood’s Bryn Symons. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — Pinpoint passing and dialled-in pressure defence are the best allies of any basketball team.

Get them in the 9 a.m. quarterfinal here at TBI 2021, and you’re bound to get off to a solid start.

That was the case Friday for PoCo’s Riverside Rapids, who despite having just eight players, turned in a complete effort, topping Langley’s Brookswood Bobcats.

Brooke Kendal and Avery Sussex percolated throughout for the Rapids, each scoring a game-high 22 points.

Alexis Hart added 18 points, while posts Natalie Curley and Olivia Wheatley added 12 each.

Cassidy Buchanan scored 18 points.

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