Coaching an elite high school basketball team can be a stressful gig at times, but these days, W.J. Mouat senior girls coach Paula Thompson is mellow as can be.
And why shouldn’t she be? Thompson’s Hawks are operating like a well-oiled machine – lighting it up offensively, dominating defensively, and racking up a series of signature victories in the process.
The Hawks’ latest high-profile triumph came on the weekend at the Top 10 Shootout, a prestigious tournament at Coquitlam’s Centennial Secondary.
Mouat laid waste to Fleetwood Park, Maple Ridge and Argyle en route to the final – their smallest margin of victory was 29 points – and they capped the event with an impressive 68-54 victory over the No. 1-ranked Brookswood Bobcats of Langley in the title game.
Afterward, Thompson was full of superlatives to describe her team. Ashleyn Sarowa, who scored a game-high 23 points in the final, had “the tournament of her life.” Kayli Sartori, who had 17 points in the title game and earned tourney MVP honours, “played out of her mind.”
“This is the most amazing group I’ve ever coached, on and off the court,” Thompson enthused. “They really like each other and support each other. They’re a true team, and as a coach, that’s what I love.”
All that’s left for the Hawks is to ascend to the No. 1 provincial ranking. They’re currently No. 3 among AAA teams, but they’ve now won two of three against Brookswood this season. Mouat dropped a two-point decision to the Bobcats in the final of their own Century 21 Classic to open the season, but beat Brookswood by 11 points at a tournament at Douglas College over Christmas.
The Hawks have split a pair of games against second-ranked Riverside of Port Coquitlam this season, including a 31-point victory at the Century 21 Classic.
“I think, in all fairness, we should be,” Thompson said when quizzed about her team’s chances of moving up to No. 1.
In addition to Sartori’s MVP award, Jaslyen Singh was a first team all-star at the Top 10 Shootout, and Sarowa was a second-teamer.