This is the final wrap from Day 2 of the Girls 2021 Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre.
All game reports and photos are below.
First, here’s a look at tomorrow’s championship quarterfinals. Remember, semifinals tip at 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Friday, with Saturday’s final tipping at 8:30 p.m.
QUARTERFINALS (All games on Centre Court)
TOP HALF DRAW
1:45 p.m. — Terry Fox. vs. Sir Winston Churchill
10:30 a.m. — MEI vs. South Delta
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
9 a.m. — Riverside vs. Brookswood
12:15 p.m. — Langley Christian vs. St. Michaels University School
SWEET 16 GAME REPORTS
TOP HALF DRAW (all games at Centre Court)
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 69 HERITAGE WOODS 41
LANGLEY — The Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, like the rest of the province, may not have had a high school basketball season in 2020-21.
Yet the team’s head coach, following an impressive Sweet 16 TBI victory over Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks, is taking pride in all the ways his players stayed, to the best of their abilities, close to the game during the pandemic.
“Our back court has been maturing even though we didn’t have basketball last year because a lot of the girls played club ball and really stayed committed,” said Dysktra, following a win which propels his No. 4-ranked team into a titanic all-Quad A quarterfinal match-up Friday (1:45 p.m.) against the No. 1-ranked Terry Fox Ravens.
“I remember telling them in Grade 8 that ‘We have to play club ball in order to get to the next level’ so a lot of the girls, over Covid, have stayed in shape and taken care of themselves. Physically, they are an athletic group, they work hard, they are pretty quick and they like to play team basketball.”
Leading the way Thursday was NCAA Div. 1 signee Marah Dykstra, the 6-foot-2 senior guard, who scored a game-high 22 points in the win.
Forward Stefanie Hart added 13, while guards Emily Zhang with 11 points and Claire Huang with 10 also broke double figures on offence.
Haley Hughes scored 19 points for Heritage Woods, which had the early misfortune of having to try and dig its way out of a 19-0 deficit to start the game.
Now, 10 days after facing each other in Port Coquitlam, in a game the No. 1 Ravens won 80-55 over the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs, the two will meet again in a game worthy of a championship final.
The Bulldogs, however, were ranked No. 10 to start the season before suddenly bolting up to No. 4 in rankings released on Wednesday evening, making the pairing look logically confusing.
“I guess we’re lucky to play them,” Dykstra of the Ravens. “It would have been nice to play them a little bit later in the tournament, but that’s the way it goes.
“We weren’t really ready to play them at their place, and they hit some nice shots, so for us it’s kind of like getting our defensive identity figured out… setting a goal of what we gave them last game and then chipping away at our defensive identity.”
Both teams are better than they were back on Dec. 7, yet Churchill did a very good job, trailing 20-10 after the first quarter, 34-22 at halftime, and then 55-39 heading into the fourth.
“But the girls have to show up,” said Dykstra. “That’s the big thing. Show up and compete.”
TERRY FOX 105 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 32
LANGLEY — The Terry Fox Ravens made their much-anticipated return to the Langley Events Centre on Thursday, and B.C.’s No. 1-ranked Quad-A team left no doubt as to the level of their game.
Six Ravens hit double-figures in scoring as the Port Coquitlam school bolted out to a 58-15 halftime lead against a hard-working and hustling group of Panthers from Surrey.
Taylor Matthews, the 5-foot-7 senior guard, led the winners with 24 points, 17 of which she poured home over the second half.
Julia Robledano added 16, Cerys Merton 15, Lauren Clements 14, Emily Sussex 12 and Hannah Rao 11 as Terry Fox advanced to a Friday 1:45 p.m. quarterfinal against the winner of Thursday’s late contest between Sir Winston Churchill and Heritage Woods.
Lord Tweedsmuir, which moves into the consolation portion of the draw to face the loser between Churchill and Heritage Woods, was led by the 11 points of Simran Lally.
“It’s just nice to have the girls back on the court and into a routine again,” said Terry Fox coach Mike Carkner.
“And it’s good to be back here at the LEC,” added Carkner, whose then-all Grade 10 Ravens last played here in the 2020 B.C. championship game, a loss to eventual champion Semiahmoo.
MEI 58 R.A. MCMATH 56
LANGLEY — In a game as tight as a drum from start to finish, the Eagles and the Wildcats did a great job of re-defining an early-season heart stopper on centre court.
MEI’s Erin Kim with a runner for a 54-50 lead with 46.9 seconds left.
McMath’s Kee Hohlweg with one of her own with 31 seconds left to make it 54-52.
MEI’s Sidney Giesbrecht with a baseline jumper… McMath’s Caitlin Kippan with short jump shot.. MEI’s Makenna Reimer with two huge free throws to make it 58-54 with 4.9 seconds left.
“It was so gritty and we had to figure stuff out,” said said MEI head coach Rick Thiessen. “They were shutting us down, but we did a pretty solid job defensively as well, so I said at halftime it is going to come down to free throw shooting. Makenna made those two free throws at the end to seal it.”
McMath did an exceptional job of limiting Reimer over the first three quarters.
Personally, she was very frustrated,” confirmed Thiessen. “They defended her very well , and it felt like she never got good looks. But then all of a sudden in the fourth quarter.. a coupe of breakaways , a three and then those two free throws.”
Reimer scored 13 of her team-high 16 in the second half. Giesbrecht added 15 while Jazmin Avila scored eight points.
McMath’s Marina Radocaj, the 6-foot-2 Grade 11 standout, scored a game-high 21 points while Hohlweg added 17 and Kippan a further 10.
“We reminded ourselves that in Grade 8 we lost to them, in the provincial quarterfinal, then two years ago we lost to them at B.C.’s again, at senior, in the quarterfinal. Both were two- or three-point losses. So it’s our first win in three tries.”
The win sets up a South Delta vs. MEI quarterfinal at 10:30 a.m. The two teams each played their way to the final eight by starting in Wednesday’s play-in round.
SOUTH DELTA 64 ABBOTSFORD 62
LANGLEY — Alexa Kusel stepped up to the free throw line and drained both her shots, snapping a 62-62 tie and inciting pandemonium from the South Delta bench as the re-invented, newly-ranked Sun Devils topped the Abbotsford Panthers to earn a quarterfinal berth Friday at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational.
“It was a gutsy win and it took everyone,” said elated South Delta head coach Sharon Butler. “Wow, like wow. I told them ‘Welcome to the dance.’ We’re here.”
The Panthers, led by the 31 points of Lakresha Edwards, had built a six-point halftime lead.
Yet the Sun Devils were as relentless as they needed to be, getting 19 points from Amanda Maestro, 13 more from Kusel, 10 from Mackenzie Campbell and nine from Kaija Rutledge to earn its first win as a ranked team since moving up to the Tier 1 play this season.
On Wednesday evening, South Delta went from unranked to No. 10 in the latest Quad-A poll.
Nyah Vermeulen added 12 points for Abbotsford while Chelsey Dulku added 11.
Abbotsford led 31-25 at the break and the game was tied at 47-47 heading into the fourth quarter.
BOTTOM HALF DRAW (all games at South Court)
RIVERSIDE 82 ARGYLE 17
LANGLEY — Avery Sussex scored 32 points while Natalie Curley added 13 as Port Coquitlam’s Rapids secured a comfortable victory over a shorthanded Pipers squad from North Vancouver.
Riverside advances to face Brookswood in a 9 a.m. quarterfinal on Friday while Argyle meets Abbotsford’s Yale Lions later in the day in a 5 p.m. contest.
BROOKSWOOD 93 YALE 78
LANGLEY — The Brookswood Bobcats are figuring out when to play their best basketball, and according to head coach Chris Veale it was just what the doctor ordered for the Langley squad here in the Sweet 16 round at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational.
“We needed a win against a good team,” started Veale. “We had close losses to good teams. We played Walnut Grove and Langley Christian. Both were great games and we just slipped at the end. This one was the opposite. We got it going at the end.”
Veale wasn’t kidding.
With 5:30 left, the Lions were leading 72-71, but then the Bobcats caught fire, and finished the game on a thunderous 22-6 run.
Jamie Rettig, the senior guard, keyed the comeback with her dead-eye ways.
Rettig scored 16 of her 26 points in the second half, including four treys. Her last one gave the ‘Cats a 91-76 lead with 1:12 remaining.
Meanwhile, fellow senior guard Cassidy Buchanan poured home a game-high 28 points.
Post Sahyna Gill was able to key a lot of that momentum with 15 points and solid play in the paint.
“We worked on our zone offence and moving the ball well and we slowed it down to show them ‘Hey, these are the looks we can get’, but we almost over-did it,” smiled Veale who was happy that the concepts remained just simple enough to execute this early in the season. “We did just enough.”
Yale head coach Bobby Braich didn’t dodge anything, knowing his team is also learning.
“No excuses,” Braich said. “They got their shots and they didn’t miss. They are a little more seasoned than we are right now. We are still learning our systems and just hope to do better.”
Jay Hildebrand, the Lions’ 6-foot-2 Grade 11 forward led the way with 23 points. Maggy Curtis had 17, Caleigh Reimer 14, Ava Happner 11 and Hannah Singh 10.
LANGLEY CHRISTIAN 89 SEAQUAM 49
LANGLEY — Taelor Coxford scored a game-high 23 points, while teammates Lainey Shelvey added 14 and Grade 10 Colette Vander Hoven 12 as the Lightning struck early and often en route to a win over North Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks.
The Hawks were led by the dual 11-point performances of Sareena Binng and Nyssa Sunner.
The victory propels Langley Christian into a 12:15 p.m. quarterfinal against the winner of Thursday’s late contest between St. Michaels University School’s Blue Jags and the the G.W. Graham Grizzlies.
Seaquam moves to the consolation side of the draw and will face the Blue Jags-Grizzlies loser.
ST. MICHAELS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL 83 G.W. GRAHAM 29
LANGLEY — If Thursday’s game was any indication, Victoria’s Double-A No. 2-ranked St. Michael’s University School Blue Jags are group blessed with innate team chemistry.
After a decisive win here at the 2021 TBI over Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies paved the way for the tier’s first No. 1 vs. No. 2 clash Friday (12:15 p.m.) in the form of a quarterfinal match-up against the top-ranked Langley Christian Lightning, SMUS head coach Lindsay Brooke admitted the game was a bit of a first for her girls.
“This is our first real crack at it with our squad because our senior girls were at volleyball provincials lsat week, so this felt good getting everyone together,” said Brooke, whose team was led by the 20 points of Avery Geddes and the dual 19-point outings of Makena Anderson and Katie Maybie.
“I was happy defensively,” continued Brooke. “We put a good effort forward. We like to run the ball and push the ball and have some dangerous players offensively, so I thought it was a good start for us to be sure.”
Brianne McLeish added a further 10 for the Jags while Emily Sprott with eight points and Carmen Folka with six led the Grizzlies.
When asked about Langley Christian, Brooke admitted that to the best of her knowledge the two tams have not played, at least in her tenure as the head coach.
“I have never played Langley Christian as a coach and so that’s been a long time, but obviously we meet tomorrow and that is great.
“I just think it’s a good measuring stick for us,” she added. “The preseason rankings… they are what they are, and so for us to get a crack at the top teams, that is why we come to this tournament. We want to play the best so we are really excited.”
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