An honour and a privilege.
That’s how most participants in the 2018 BC Girls All-Star Game described their experience. The result was inconsequential — the opportunity to play with and against the top BC girls basketball players was not. After it looked like the Fraser Valley team would run away with it, the Lower Mainland team battled back to tie it late before a last second Sienna Lenz shot gave the Fraser Valley the win 82-80.
“Oh it means the world” said Argyle’s Chloe Walton on what it meant to be chosen to the game. “I didn’t really think I would end up here to be honest. Basketball has kind of been a sport on the side but this year it really grew on me and I really fell in love with the sport. It’s really fun to end my season like this.”
“Well [the All-Star game] is really nice because to end your season you think there’s nothing left” explained Hailey Counsell of Heritage Woods. “It was really sad, after my last game I was in tears. But to be chosen to this and be amongst some of the top players and to play another game in this jersey and represent my school, it was a big deal for me. I’m really happy I was chosen.”
One thing that came up with almost all players was the opportunity to play with and against the best that BC had to offer. Some had played summer basketball with one another and were reconnecting — others were on the same team with players for the first time.
“Probably playing with all the talent around the province and all these girls, most of which I’ve played with this season” said Jaya Bannerman of G.W. Graham, who next season will play for Trinity Western. “Some of them I’ve just seen and been like ‘wow that girl is really good.’ And now getting to play with them is really cool.”
“There’s a lot of people that I knew but there’s also a lot of people that I didn’t know” said Natalie Rather of Walnut Grove on the team Dynamic. “It was really nice to be able to come and talk to everybody especially because everyone is heading off to university and college.”
Part of that dynamic was seeing future teammates play against each other and together. Fraser Valley’s Sienna Lenz and Emma Kramer will both be at SFU, Tanis Metcalfe of the Lower Mainland and Hailey Counsell we be at UBC, and Natalie Rather and the Lower Mainland’s Abby Zawada will be out at the University of Fraser Valley.
“It’s cool because I’ve known Tanis for five years, I play with her every summer” said Counsell on her future UBC teammate Metcalfe. “She’s a completely different position than me, and to be able to play with and against her is really cool. Knowing next year when I go to university I’ll get to play with her and bond more as teammates is really cool and I’m excited for it.”
“We played together in the summer and we’re really close” said Zawada on Rathler. “She has this charisma about her and she’s a awesome player. We’ve been joking around, and I love her aggressiveness.”
All agreed that the game was an special event to meet and play with new people. What was different from athlete to athlete was their plans for the offseason. Some will be preparing for their first season of post secondary basketball — others are still trying to figure out their future plans, such as New Westminster’s Sarah Forgie.
“Just trying not to get out of shape too bad” she said on what the offseason holds. [. . . ] I have some places I might go to yet but nothing is official.”
“Definitely get in the weight room” Kramer explained on her plans before her freshman season. “I have to bulk up a bit otherwise I’m going to get tossed around. So that’s my main thing, and also get lots of shots up. Give them a bit of a shooting guard heading into next season [with SFU].”
And despite the final outcome, that is what this game is and will be about. It was a chance for the players who have worked so hard to get one last chance to play for their schools, and that in of itself makes this game special.
Written by: Nick Bondi