Totems stand tall, finishing 40-0 on their way to a provincial AAA girls championship
Walnut Grove’s Tavia Rowell dribbles the ball past Semiahmoo’s Faith Dut (#25) and Tara Wallack (#7) in the finals of the B.C. Secondary Schools Girls AAA Basketball Championships at the Langley Events Centre Saturday.
Francis Georgian /
In the first half, the Semiahmoo Totems had doubt. In the second, they had Dut.Faith Dut, Semiahmoo’s 6-foot-3 centre, helped spearhead a comeback from a 17-point second-quarter deficit Saturday as the tournament’s No. 1 seeds edged the No. 2 Walnut Grove Gators 72-61 before a crowd of 2,000 at the Langley Events Centre.At the half, Walnut Grove was up 28-21, and it took a spirited run led by Semiahmoo guard Deja Lee to make it that close. The Gators had a 26-9 margin when Walnut Grove forward Jessica Wisotzki battled through traffic for a lay-in at 3:37 of the second quarter.Dut spent much of that first 20 minutes on the bench with foul trouble, going into the intermission with more fouls (3) than attempted field goals (2). She finished the game with a team-high 23 points and 13 rebounds.Semiahmoo finished the campaign with a 40-0 record.“I think we played as well as we could have,” shrugged Walnut Grove coach Darren Rowell, whose team lost in the championship game for a second straight year, following last year’s 67-61 defeat to the Kelowna Owls. “We had them in foul trouble, we had a lead in the first half. I think it hurt us when Ro (Taylor, a Walnut Grove forward) fouled out and we were unable to stop Faith. Faith really stepped up in the second half.“They’re such a tough team. Their offensive rebounding was remarkable. It gave them second shots, third shots. We just weren’t able to get stops down the stretch.“We had a chance if everything would have went our way. Things didn’t quite go our way. They’re a great team.”
Semiahmoo’s Tara Wallack shoots over Walnut Grove’s Tavia Rowell in the girls basketball final at LEC.
Francis Georgian /
Dut, who is bound for the University of Florida next year, is the lone Grade 12 who received considerable minutes for Semiahmoo. They had six Grade 10s play extensively, highlighted by Lee, who was crucial to the comeback. The point guard was later named the tournament’s most valuable player.Lee had 19 points, six assists and four steals on Saturday. She had two step-back three-pointers in the final 1:40 of the first half to give Semiahmoo momentum and confidence heading into the break.“Deja has been outstanding all year. She’s put so much time in,” said Semiahmoo coach Allison McNeill. “She has the heart of a lion.“I looked up at one point and, in your heart of hearts, you always believe that you’re going to win, but when I saw nine points I thought, ‘Holy cow … are were going to hit double digits?’ ”Walnut Grove got 28 points and 13 rebounds from Wisotzki, who is committed to SFU, and 19 points and nine rebounds from point guard Tavia Rowell, who is heading to Grand Canyon University. Fellow senior Taylor, who is off to Trinity Western next year, had 12 rebounds before fouling out with just over seven minutes left.Meanwhile, in Double A, the South Kamloops Titans repeated as champions, beating the GW Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack for a second straight season. This time it was a 70-43 decision for top-seeded South Kamloops over No. 3 GW Graham.Last year, the Titans won 73-67 in overtime.On Saturday, South Kamloops was led by 29 points from guard Maddy Gobeil, while forward Deanna Tuchscherer paced GW Graham with 14 points.The pair will be teammates next season in Canada West with the Fraser Valley Cascades.GW Graham led 27-25 at the half, as they held South Kamloops to 21 per cent shooting (8-for-38) from the floor.Gobeil was 1-for-15 in the first two quarters, on her way to eight points. She finished 7-for-30, including 3-for-7 from three-point range. She was 12-for-12 from the free throw line, helping South Kamloops to a 21-for-25.South Kamloops ended up shooting 29 per cent (22-for-74) from the floor on the gameGW Graham was up 27-25 at the half. South Kamloops shot 21 per cent from the floor in the first two quarters.In junior girls, the No. 1 Terry Fox Ravens of Port Coquitlam finished their season 35-0 with a 76-36 win over the No. 2 Kelowna Owls in the championship. Terry Fox, with an all-Grade 9 lineup, had a 51-point average margin of victory in their four games at the provincials.Guard Cerys Merton, who was later named the tournament’s most valuable player, had 17 points for Terry Fox against the Owls, including five three-pointers.Terry Fox’s assistant coach is Teena Frost (nee Bell), who was a guard for McNeill at SFU.email@example.com