Hope Secondary was the site of the Fraser Valley single-A senior girls’ basketball championships last weekend, with Hope hosting the top six small-school teams from the Fraser Valley, from as far west as Port Coquitlam.
Hope had finished in third place in the league, with a six-win, four-loss record.
Head coach Tammy Nazarchuk said the tournament came to the eastern end of the valley when acting vice-principal Jason Fisher made the application and no one else offered.
“I think we have a great facility and its nice to host events such as these,” said Nazarchuk, who shares the acting vice-principal role with Fisher.
“Special thanks to [athletics coordinator] Alicia Dubois for putting it together.”
At the semi-finals on Thursday, Hope was matched up against the BC Christian Academy Panthers of Port Coquitlam. Hope had met BCGA in the Mustangs’ tournament in December, narrowly hanging on to win 46-45. They had also beaten the Panthers 49-34, at home in January.
In Thursday’s game, Hope started strong and the Panthers just couldn’t close the gap, as the Mustangs took it 55-32. Scoring leaders were Morgann Steeves with 14, Kelsey Striker with 12 and Betsie Kopola-Hoshowski with 10.
“It was a very physical game.” said the coach. “Our timing was better, passes were quicker and the shots were on. And our press was on fire.”
Scoring summaries for that game were not available by press time.
The win put the Mustangs into the final four, with Hope going up against Langley’s Credo Christian on Friday, then Chilliwack’s Unity Christian on Saturday.
It didn’t help that starting guard Mina Kim had blown her knee in practice earlier in the week — but the team also forgot how to shoot, said Nazarchuk.
“We lost our momentum in the second and third game,” she said.
“If you watched just the action and tenacity on the court, you would not be able to tell who was winning the game. Our shots just wouldn’t go in the net for the last two games and we ran into foul trouble in the third and lost our edge.
“We didn’t make the cut for provincials.”
For her consistent work and scoring throughout the weekend, Steeves was placed on the tournament’s first all-star team. She scored 22 points in the final game.Langley Christian went on to beat credo Christian in a close game. Those top two teams will go on to the BC championships in Prince George, March 6 to 9.
“It was a great year,” said Nazarchuk. “I’m very proud of all of these young ladies. They are absolutely coachable and tons of fun!
“We participated in four tournaments, including the Fraser Valley playoffs.
“We have four upcoming Grade 11’s and two Grade 10’s — but we are losing five of our seniors this year, four of which I have coached since Grade 8.
The team will be saying goodbye to five graduates: Steeves, Jaimie Peters, Kopola-Hoshowski and cousins Alex and Arden Sauvé.
“It was tough for them, ending the season,” said the coach, “let alone not getting a spot to make it to the provincials.
“It’s sad to see them go… but I have no doubt they will be successful and happy in their career choices and life.”