Kelowna and Walnut Grove face off in AAA heavyweight class Championship
The AAA final pits two programs that have beaten up the poor teams that have had the misfortune of playing them in this tournament. Kelowna has defeated their opponents this tournament by an average of 29 points, but this will likely be a very close game — something they haven’t experienced thus far.
The Owls have lost twice already to their opponents Walnut Grove this season, and in both games Kelowna “haven’t shot the ball particularly well” said head coach David Seminiuk. He’s hoping that the third time will be the lucky one for this team.
“They’re very well balanced” he said on the matchup against the Gators. “They have Tavia [Rowell] running the show, and the other pieces that they have inside with Natalie [Rathler] and Jessica [Wisotski]. They’re tough. Just when you think you’ve got them locked down in a certain spot on the floor, someone else is scoring for them.”
The Kelowna Owls are led by Taya Hanson. The Arizona State commit has scored no fewer than 26 points in a game, and her size and distribution ability allows others such as Kasey Patchell to get clean looks from distance.
Walnut Grove in contrast, has won on average by 32 points. Much of that was helped by an over 50 point win over Mount Baker, but also put in impressive wins against Riverside and Abbotsford Senior. In the game against the Panthers, the Gators survived a 20 point comeback in the third, before flipping the switch to win by 17.
“It felt like a one point overtime game” said the head coach of Walnut Grove Darren Rowell. “We’re happy to come through that one and I think it really prepares you for the final. We’re battle tested and ready for the final.”
The focal point of Walnut Grove is undoubtedly Tavia Rowell. Fresh off a triple double against Abbotsford Senior, she’s averaging 30 points a game in the tournament. Senior Natalie Rathler and shooting guard Jessica Wisotski are the inside presence that Hanson and likely Kennedy Dickie will have to match up against.
Tip-off is at 5:00 pm at centre court. Make sure to follow BC Sports Hub on YouTube and Instagram for highlights of the game.
3rd Place Game - Abby Senior vs Semiahmoo
Abbotsford Senior and Semiahmoo will play in the third place game. Abbotsford managed to come back from 20 points deficit against Walnut Grove, but ran out of gas in the fourth and fell to Walnut Grove. Sienna and Marin Lenz will be a handful for Semiahmoo to contain.
Meanwhile, Semiahmoo lost to Kelowna in their semifinal game. Although they lost by over 20, the Totems are a very young team — four of their starters are in grade nine and should be back next year. Despite the disappointment in losing their last game, they are certainly a program on the rise in AAA.
Both teams will play on the Fieldhouse Court at 3:00 pm.
Written by: Nick Bondi