You know you've got two fabulous basketball teams playing against each other when not one, but two games on Championship Saturday at the Centennial Top 10 Shootout were decided in an overtime thriller.
Third Place - Riverside Rapids vs. Brookswood Bobcats
Prior to the big ole first place game, the Riverside Rapids had an interesting matchup with the ever-so-fiesty Brookswood Bobcats. The Cats (despite missing star guard Jenna Dick) attacked the Rapids early on, showcasing versatility in the paint as the rest of the team clutched up. In fact, Brookswood nearly led the entire game. The fourth quarter saw a spike of effort from the Rapids, though, with relentless pressure and passion when the PoCo gals needed it most.
They rallied to equalize, and eventually defeated the Cats in OT by a final score of 86-84.
Huge shoutout to Sammy Shields, Riverside's "GoldenEye" of the game.
Championship Finals - Semiahmoo Totems vs. Walnut Grove Gators
Grade 10. Let that sink in. That is the grade in which the majority (okay, almost every single player) of Semiahmoo's squad hails from. I could barely tie my shoes in Grade 10 and yet these girls are absolute monsters on the court.
Take Izzy Forsyth, for example. The Grade 10 played an enormous role in the Champ Finals: She sunk the game winning basket for Semi, who took the top spot at the Top 10 Shootout after defeating the hard-to-defeat Walnut Grove Gators. She's quicker than most and honestly, almost every single one of her drives down the court ended with a swish.
"When I saw her make the shot I’m like, ‘YES! Oh my gosh!' Like next play, we just have to get the ball back," said teammate Déja Lee on Forsyth's golden basket.
Lee was the backbone of a Faith-less (Totems star Faith Dut was out with a concussion and missed the Semis and Final game at Top 10) Semiahmoo squad. With all eyes on the Grade 10 who carved her name into a long list of Centennial's Top 10 Shootout MVPs, Lee did not disappoint. She was poised and ready. She played as if she had years upon years of experience in these type of high-pressure situations. Lee stood as tall as you'd picture the tallest Totem in the world would stand.
Let me say that one more time...she's only in Grade 10.
"Honestly, I mean we tried to say ‘You know, this is what it’s going to be like next year,’" Lee said when asked how being without Dut affected Semiahmoo's game plan. "So we just said, ‘You know what, we’re going to go out and play hard.' We said,'Izzy in the post, you gotta work hard but we’ll support you, as well,’ and that’s what we did in the game."
The girls rallied together in overtime and were victorious with a final score of 77-75 over the Gators.
Head Coach Allison McNeill was beaming with pride.
"I’m really proud of the kids and happy for them...Top 10’s exciting," she said.
Despite their size and age (compared to Grove), the Totems had a clear mission in the championship game. McNeill explains:
"Well, I think with Walnut Grove we just said we have to limit Tavia’s touches, you have to limit Jess’s touches, but that’s not all they have. They have lots of players. So, we just kind of wanted to limit touches and then play hard.
And play with a bit of a spirit because we’re missing Faith and I think we kind of knew we were smaller, but you know, still pretty quick. So really it was limit their touches but that’s near impossible with those two."
While the Totems head into the unknown for the rest of the season, they are confident that regardless of their Grade, this group of girls can and will hold their own on the basketball court.
"For [the remainder of] this season? You can expect most of what you saw tonight," said Lee.
"A bunch of Grade 10's working hard and playing together as a team."
Congratulations to all of the teams who competed at Centennial's Top 10 Shootout this year! And a huge congrats to Déja Lee for being named the MVP of the tournament.
Notable Awards from the Top 10:
First Team All-Stars
Izzy Forsyth - Semiahmoo Totems
Tavia Rowell - Walnut Grove Gators
Jessica Parker - Riverside Rapids
Neyha Lali - Brookswood Bobcats
Jaeli Ibbetson - Kelowna Owls
Second Team All-Stars
Jessica Wisotzki - Walnut Grove Gators
Sammy Shields - Riverside Rapids
Jenessa Knapp - Brookswood Bobcats
Marin Lenz - Abbotsford Panthers
Maddy Gobeil - South Kamloops Titans
Written by: Crystal Scuor