WHAT began in elementary school a handful of years ago, came to fruition on Saturday afternoon.
From there, the group spent countless hours in various gyms, honing their game to develop into what they displayed this basketball season: junior girls provincial champions.
Now all Grade 9 students at Terry Fox, the young Ravens squad capped off a perfect 35-0 season with a thorough 76-36 victory over the Kelowna Owls on Saturday afternoon at Langley Events Centre, site of the 38th annual Junior Girls Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament.
The teams traded points to start the game with Terry Fox holding a slim 10-8 lead before the Ravens took flight, capping the quarter on a 9-2 run. By halftime, the lead was up to 19 and there was no looking back.
“We knew (Kelowna was) a big, athletic team, a well-coached team and we knew that only way we were going to win this game was to up the tempo and put lots of pressure on them,” said Terry Fox coach Mike Carkner. “And the kids just played over the top, they were unbelievable, they exceeded our expectations.”
The Ravens’ multiple scoring options were on full display in the final with five players reaching double figures. Cerys Merton, who was named Most Valuable Player, led the way with 17 points, including five three-pointers. Lauren Clements had 14, Emily Sussex and Taylor Matthews each chipped in with a dozen and Alisha Weloy had 11.
Weloy was named Championship Player of the Game while Merton was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Ana-Maria Misic picked up the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award.
The title is the first junior girls championship in school history for the Port Coquitlam school.
“These girls came to Terry Fox to try and do that and to actually deliver it as Grade 9’s is super exciting. We are just thrilled,” Carkner said.
For Kelowna, it may sting, but there is no shame in second place said coach Robin Espenberg.
“They are better than 499 other junior girls teams in the province,” he said of his message to the team. “We have lost two games this year and it was to one team. It definitely stings a little bit but everybody can’t win. We didn’t play our best game but we gave it a solid effort and we are proud no matter what.”
The Owls’ Abbey McCann had 11 points while Tessa Bentley and Paris Kirk chipped in with 10 points apiece.
In the third-place game, the Riverside Rapids defeated the MEI Eagles 56-44. For full results, click here.
First Team All-Stars: Second Team All-Stars:
Franscine Basiga (Riverside) Maria Kim (Riverside)
Shiah Holmes (Kelowna) Gracie Corneau (MEI)
Tessa Bentley (Kelowna) Tatum Wade (Okanagan Mission)
Lauren Clements (Terry Fox) Marissa Rodde (Yale)
Emily Sussex (Terry Fox) Priyanca Sundher (Fleetwood Park)