It started off with a Royal thumping — but the senior Mustang girls saddled up after their 66-42 opening loss and won all of the next three games at their Winter Invitational last weekend.
Seven teams attended the annual event, with Fraser Lake pulling out earlier in the week, said acting vice principal — and former athletics coordinator — Jason Fisher.
The Rossland Royals came with only seven players and were shorter in height than the Mustangs, but they were quick and aggressive on defence and passed the ball well.
They also shot well, draining five from the three-point arc. Hope had no treys.
Hannah Jarvis led all Mustangs with six baskets and two from the foul line. Faydra Bobroske followed up with nine points and Rachel Deschenes contributed six more.
With Fraser Lake bowing out of the eight-team tourney, Surrey’s Enver Creek Secondary was left with a bye in the first round. Hope played them on Friday in an exhibition game, winning their first of three in a row.
Scoring summaries and coach’s comments for those three games were unavailable by press time but Fisher said the Mustangs were put into a three-team round robin in the consolation bracket. They beat Little Flower Academy of Vancouver in their Saturday morning game and finished with a win over Samuel Roberts Technical of Maple Ridge, to capture fifth place.
Rossland ended up third overall, while Correlieu Secondary of Quesnel met Winfield’s George Elliot Secondary in the championship final, which started at 6:30 on Saturday night.
“Quesnel was up by 12 or 15 points at the half,” said Fisher on Monday. “That’s when I left, but I hear that Winfield stormed back and it ended up coming down to a three-point game.”
Hope Secondary hosted the annual alumni game on Tuesday, which will be featured in next week’s paper.
In other Mustang news, the senior boys have been getting introduced to the game of rugby, under the guidance of coach Fisher. Muddy or frozen ground has been hampering pre-season practices but Fisher said he hopes to get into a more regular rhythm by late February.
“We’ve got 16 signed up so far,” said Fisher, “but the problem is getting them all out to practice at the same time.
“We’ve got about eight who are dedicated, so entering a seven-a-side tournament will certainly happen. We need to get a few more guys out, to go into the regular league.”
Regular rugby takes 15 players to field a team, so more dedicated numbers are required, said Fisher. “There’s a tier-two league in the Fraser Valley league, for teams that are just starting out. And there’s a seven-a-side tournament in Maple Ridge in April. Even if we don’t get into regular league play, we’d certainly go to that tournament.”
Fisher attended Shawnigan Lake private school for his Grade 8 year, where he was introduced to the sport.
“At Shawnigan, everyone was expected to play on one of the rugby teams,” recalled the coach. “It’s such a neat sport, as it really gets you to think on your feet.”
Compared to even soccer, the equipment required is minimal: cleats and a mouth guard.
“Some guys like to wear a thin, padded helmet but that’s mainly to protect the ears in the scrum,” said Fisher. “Our guys could use tape to keep their ears from getting rubbed.
“So far, we’ve gone through some tackling progressions, rucking and mauling and some line-out work,” added the coach. “No scrum work yet, as we need all 16 guys out to do that.”