The SMUS Grade 8 girls basketball team enjoyed a very successful season this year. In the Victoria Middle School league, the girls went undefeated in pool play and only lost one critical game in the City finals.
In late February at the Independent Schools Association (ISA) tournament, the Blue Jags went undefeated and took home the trophy!
The girls headed to the Vancouver ISA tournament in high spirits and with high expectations as the Number 2-seeded team. They came out strong against West Point Grey Academy (WPGA) and quickly overwhelmed them with stifling defence from Isabella Leong, Tate Robinson, Zoe Lott and Olivia Lupin. The tempo was set early and WPGA never had a chance to recover. The Blue Jags had little time to rest before playing their next game against the Collingwood Cavaliers, a tournament favourite who recently won the Vancouver North Shore Division 1 championship. The Blue Jags stepped up to the challenge and turned in their best performance of the year. In the playoff game against Crofton House, the girls had to dig deep and overcome some setbacks due to illness and a sprained ankle, which severely limited their numbers.
Throughout the weekend, the team was anchored by the strong leadership and stellar play from the starting five. Point guard Leong handled the ball with confidence and sparked the SMUS offence with quick cross-overs and consistent drives to the hoop. Fionnuala McKenna added solid, consistent defence and posts Georgia Haydock, Marika Shafonsky and Meredith Selwood were aggressive on the boards, and put in the hoops as required. The girls came together as a team and achieved their goal of winning the ISA championship! This was the first time the SMUS Grade 8 girls have won this title since 2009. Leong was named the team’s most valuable player at the tournament.
“I could not be more proud of this team. I saw a group of young women facing great odds, come together and persevere. There were plenty of opportunities to quit, settle, or lay down. They fought and fought and fought some more until the task was completed,” said Coach Charles Ford. “After the final game I saw players and parents crying tears of joy. It’s moments like this that help us all understand why we do what we do, and I’m glad I was given an opportunity to be a part of it all.”
As icing on the cake that was this season, in the community Night League tournament last week, the girls battled their way to another gold-medal victory.
Congratulations to the Grade 8 girls on a fantastic season. Vivat!