The girls basketball season officially wrapped up last week. In local play, the Junior Girls Development team finished their season with a deep run into playoffs, losing in the semifinals to Oak Bay. This marked only their second loss of the season. All girls played hard throughout and showed tremendous improvement.
The Grade 7/8 Girls Basketball team finished their season at the Grade 8 Invitational BC Championships played at MEI School in Abbotsford. The team entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed. With some returning team members and a host of keen basketball players the Blue Jags were hoping to better last year’s 5th place finish.
In the opening round game against the 12th seed, South Delta, the Blue Jags started a bit tight. Up 13-10 after the first quarter, SMUS exploded offensively to take a 29-16 lead at the break. Lots of playing time and opportunities for all SMUS girls, the Blue Jags coasted to victory 56-33. Olivia V. led all scorers with 16 points, Chioma D. added 13 and Madeleine A. finished with 8 points.
In the quarter-final game, SMUS squared off with St. Patrick Regional Secondary of Vancouver. St. Pat’s boasted a very talented guard and quick supporting cast. It was all tied up, 16-16, after the first quarter before strong outside shooting by St. Pat’s saw them take a 44-33 lead in the third quarter. Then, in an impressive showing of perseverance and grit the Blue Jags began to chip away. Some timely outside shooting by Avery G. sparked a come-from-behind win for SMUS 54-53. Avery G. paced the Blue Jags with 16 points, Chioma D. added 15 points and 12 rebounds and Katie M. scored 10 points.
In the semi-final game, SMUS faced the No. 1 seed, WA Fraser. The Blue Jags were up 9-7 after the first quarter, and 19-16 heading into the half. WA Fraser had a solid third quarter to go up 26-33. The fourth quarter saw back and forth action with great plays by Alex M. and Olivia V. The game was all tied up with less than 20 seconds to play and sadly, SMUS lost on the buzzer 45-43. Olivia V. sliced and diced her way to 15 points and Alex M. added 10 points.
Now playing for the bronze against Mulgrave of North Vancouver, the Blue Jags were hungry to avenge an earlier ISA loss. Down 14-16 at the half, SMUS rallied in the second half for another come-from-behind win, 33-29. Olivia V. paced the team with 8 points, Alex M. added 7 points, and Avery G. and Charlie A. each scored 6 points.
This win capped an incredible season. In addition to the third place finish in the province, the team was also rewarded with the Most Sportsmanlike Team Award. For outstanding achievement at the tournament, Olivia V. received a first-team all-star and Katie M. an honourable mention all-star. Congratulations to all team members: Madeleine A., Charlie A., Chioma D., Avery G., Katie M., Alex M., Jenna R., Olivia V. and Coco W. Thanks to the coaching staff of Gary Brooke, Lindsay Brooke and Jane Rees.
The Junior Girls Basketball team entered the 2020 Junior Girls BC Championship with a 25-1 season record to date. With the school’s first-ever Junior Girls Island title under their belt, they entered the BC Championship as the No. 3 seed.
In the opening round game, SMUS faced Sahali of Kamloops. Some early game jitters led the Jags to struggle offensively. However, a switch in defensive tactics paid dividends resulting in some easy baskets to break the seal on offense. Up 12-6 after the first quarter, SMUS stretched the lead to 28-11 heading into the halftime break. In the second half, all team members factored into the rotation and got solid minutes. SMUS won handily 44-26. Lauren Rust led all scorers with 17 points, Makena Anderson added 16 points and Brianne McLeish finished with 7 points.
In the quarter final match, SMUS faced a Heritage Woods team (No. 6 seed) that the Blue Jags had faced early in the season. Heritage Woods forced the tempo and caused the Blue Jags some early headaches. SMUS struggled again to find a rhythm offensively. Up 21-12 after the first quarter the lead was cut to just 6 points heading into the half. Three consecutive three point baskets by Anderson in the third quarter sparked the Blue Jags, however, they continued to struggle defensively. In the fourth quarter, SMUS held Heritage Woods to just six points to finish with a 59-44 win. Anderson finished with 22 points, Rust added 18 points and McLeish finished with 10 points.
This set up the semi-final match-up with the No. 2 seeded Kelowna Owls, the only team to defeat the Blue Jags early in the season. SMUS started out strong at both ends of the court, as they matched the Owls offensively. Down 22-20 at the half, SMUS came out with a strong second half defensively, holding the Owls to a 17-point second half. A big fourth, sparked again by the outside shooting of Anderson saw the Blue Jags take the victory 44-35. Anderson and Rust each finished with 16 points, McLeish added 9 points.
In the final game against the No. 1 seed, Dr. Knox of Kelowna, SMUS came out of the gates strong, taking a very early 9-4 lead. Dr. Knox would equalize before the end of the first quarter. Dr. Knox forced the tempo offensively and were able to take advantage of some easy baskets in transition. Dr. Knox entered the half time break up 25-21. But SMUS would not quit, thanks to the herculean effort of Jojo Tupas-Singh who showed incredible leadership in the crunch. A fourth quarter lead by the Blue Jags, 48-46, would not be enough, as Dr. Knox scored the last six points of the game to win 52-48. Anderson finished with 16 points, Tupas-Singh with 12 points and McLeish with 10 points. Rust was a force on the boards and finished with 8 blocked shots.
Second place in BC is the best-ever finish by a girls basketball team in SMUS history; a truly remarkable feat for a young and talented squad. Tupas-Singh and Anderson were both named to the tournament’s first all-star team and Rust was named the tournament’s most outstanding defensive player. All team members are congratulated for a terrific season: Amanda Adams, Makena Anderson, Emma Curry, Skye Farish, Anna Fowler, Josie Hallatt, Brianne McLeish, Sophie Olcen, Lauren Rust and Jojo Tupas-Singh. Coaches Lindsay Brooke, Kate DeGoede and Gary Brooke are extremely proud of the team.