Updated: Mar 5, 2019
In a perfect season to this point, this was by far the toughest test for the young Semiahmoo Totems.
Facing the Walnut Grove Gators — a team they had played three times previous —they were going for the undefeated season and the exclamation point of a provincial championship, putting them in rare territory amongst senior girls teams.
They had to battle back from a halftime deficit but ultimately Semiahmoo bent but did not break at the last hurdle, claiming the AAA title 72-61.
“All I feel right now is all those late nights, early morning, all those shoot arounds, all those weight room sessions, it was all worth it” said Faith Dut, the grade 12 senior who will be joining the Florida Gators in the fall. “Everything paid off and I did it with my favourite people in the world. I’m so happy and so grateful.”
Semiahmoo started the game off on the wrong foot, as Walnut Grove dictated the play at the beginning. The Gators were up by as much as 15, before the Totems went on a late run to cut the deficit to seven at the half.
Semiahmoo spent much of the first half without Dut, who got her third foul early on in the game and had to sit for much of the half. Grove took full advantage of that, going inside as much as they can on offence and having the likes of Jessica Wisotzki patrol the paint on defence and forcing the Totems to tons of tough shots over the SFU commit.
“It was very difficult” Dut explained on having to sit from the bench and watch the majority of the first half as a spectator. “But because of the trust I’ve built with my teammates and just everything we’ve gone through together I had to keep it in the back of my mind that they got this because they do. And they did. They held it down for me and once I got back in there we did it together.”
The second half saw the Semiahmoo Totems that we’ve all come to know over the course of the season rise to the occasion. They shot 42.6% from the field in the second half, compared to under 20% in the first.
The combination of great inside play from Dut — fortunately for her team she didn’t pick up another foul the rest of the game — and perimeter shooting from Izzy Forsyth, Tara Wallack, and Deja Lee proved too much for the Gators to handle. There was almost a sense of inevitability once the Totems took the lead just a few minutes into the third quarter.
And although Tavia Rowell made it 56-53 late with a big three, the Totems were able to keep their composure and hold on for the school’s first Girls provincial championship.
“They’re a great group because they work so hard” said Semiahmoo’s head coach Allison McNeill on her team. “They’re so competitive and they love to be around each other. They’re fun to coach, but I wouldn’t say we thought we were going to go undefeated. Our goal was to win provincials but also to get better every day.”
Dut finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Lee had 17 points and Forsyth 17. Jessica Wisotzki had a game high 28 points to go along with 13 rebounds, and Rowell had 19.
It was an impressive season and there may be more to come for the Totems. The team featured six grade tens and a grade nine, many of which played a prominent role. With an offseason to get better, this team will likely be attacking the record books once again next season.
Written by: Nick Bondi