The Semiahmoo Totems are in the midst of one of the most historic runs in BC Girls Basketball history. Since November of 2018, the Totems haven’t lost a single game to a team from British Columbia.
At the 2019 Provincials, the Totems cruised through the first three games before running into a talented and experienced Walnut Grove Gators team in the finals. The Totems fought back from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to win 72-61. The inspirational victory capped off a campaign in which the Totems went a ridiculous 40-0.
Fast forward a year to this Friday, and the Totems once again found themselves undefeated and facing the Gators, this time in the 2020 provincial semi-finals. However, this time around was not nearly as close. The Totems quickly took the driver’s seat in-game and won with a final score of 105-78.
How does the team stay motivated to keep winning? “We don’t look at wins and losses, we look at getting better,” said Totems head coach Allision McNeill. “We’re trying to get better every game, play hard, and have fun.”
And the Totems have certainly been doing all three of those things this season. On Wednesday, they broke the provincial record for most points scored in a game by one team, scoring an impressive 126 points in a 126-27 romping of the Prince George Polars.
The 99-point margin of victory is certainly one of the biggest in BC High School history. Other highlights of the Totems season so far include winning the esteemed Top 10 Shoot-Out tournament with a dominant 98-69 victory over what was (at the time) the number-two team in the province, the Riverside Rapids.
Against Walnut Grove on Friday, Semiahmoo was led by their superstar trio of grade elevens: forwards Izzy Forsyth and Tara Wallack, and guard Deja Lee. The 6’2’ Wallack shone against the Gators, posting a 27-point, 16-rebound, five-block performance. Forsyth put up 25 points and nine rebounds, while Lee had 17 points and six assists.
Lee, in particular, has garnered a lot of attention this season, as most recently being named a 2020 BioSteel All-Canadian. Last season, Lee was named the provincial MVP despite the fact that she was only in grade ten at the time. “[Deja's] in the gym a lot,” said McNeill, who is the former coach of the Canadian National Senior Women’s team. “She’s quite a student of the game and a true high-level competitor. I just really enjoy coaching her.”
For McNeill, Lee, and the Totems, all that stands in the way of a second consecutive provincial championship are the number two seed Terry Fox Ravens. “[The Ravens] are a really great team,” said McNeill. “We’re going to prepare for a tough game.”
Written by: Aly Dhanani