Abbotsford basketball teams took to the hardcourt all weekend long as provincial basketball tournaments crowned champions in a number of divisions, but it was the Yale Lions junior girls team in defeat that left a massive impression.
The Lions challenged crosstown rivals the MEI Eagles in the junior girls quarter-finals and wouldn’t quit – even when they were down to just three available players when the game stretched to double overtime.
Yale entered the tournament with just seven players total, but with forward Jayden White unavailable that number dropped to six for the game against the Eagles. After two Lions fouled out, Yale played much of the fourth quarter with just four players, and that number dropped to three when another Lions player fouled out late in the game.
Despite playing two players down, the Lions, comprised of Marissa Rodde, Taylor Hutton and Olivia Thinde sent the game to overtime and then double overtime before ultimately falling 71-63 in double overtime to MEI.
Tournament observers called it one of the gutsiest efforts in tournament history, and the Lions finished seventh overall in the province, losing 47-44 to Claremont on Friday, but then edging Fleetwood Park 55-53 in the seventh place game.
The Eagles went on to fall 67-26 to the Terry Fox Ravens in the semifinal and also lost 56-44 to Riverside to finish a strong fourth in the province.
MEI’s Gracie Corneau and Yale’s Marissa Rodde were both named second team tournament all-stars.
Yale also had its best showing ever in the senior girls 3A tournament, placing sixth in the province.
The Lions opened with a 107-44 win over Nanaimo District, but then lost 65-64 to Kelowna in the quarter-final round. Yale bounced back with a 83-63 win over Okanagan-Mission, but then dropped the fifth place game 71-57 to Riverside.
The Robert Bateman Timberwolves, making the school’s debut at the senior girls tournament, beat Argyle 87-48 in the opener, but then lost 86-45 to Walnut Grove in the quarter-final round. Bateman then lost 76-63 to Riverside in the consolation bracket, but closed with a 65-62 win over Okanagan-Mission in the seventh place game.
The seventh place showing is the best finish in school history for Bateman.
The Abbotsford Panthers also competed in the 3A conference, losing on day one 91-77 to Okanagan-Mission, but then beating North Peace 98-59, Mount Baker 91-74 and closing out with a 71-58 win over Lord Byng to place ninth in the province.
Abbotsford’s Marin Lenz and Yale’s Tana Pankratz were both named honourable mention tournament all-stars.
Over in Port Moody, the Abbotsford Traditional Titans rolled all the way to the Grade 9 girls provincial title game, but lost 49-25 to McMath in Saturday’s championship game.
The Titans beat Quamichan 49-25, the host Heritage Woods team 41-20 and Heritage Park 38-24 in the semifinal to place second in the province.
Titans players Priya Sangha and Ashleen Dhillon were named to the tournament all-star squad.
Bateman and the Rick Hansen Hurricanes also competed at the event, with Bateman placing sixth and Hansen finishing 11th.
— Ryan Colbert (@RyancolbertRyan) March 2, 2019
It was also a good weekend for the Abbotsford Middle Huskies, as the school’s Grade 8 boys and girls teams competed at provincials.
The Huskies girls finished second in the province, with Malia Lenz and Chelsey Dulku named first team tournament all-stars. The boys placed third overall, with Dilveer Randhawa (first team) and Justin Menning (second team) named tournament all-stars.
For more information on the tournaments, visit bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com.