The Carihi Tyees are heading to Langley for the B.C. high school basketball Championship tournament after squeaking into a second place finish at the Island cup.
This will be the first time the high school’s Senior Girl’s team will be competing for the best-in-province title since 2010.
“The girls are pretty hyped,” said head coach Todd Barnes. “And we’re pretty proud of their accomplishment.”
After finishing in third place at a North Island tourney, the players knew they would have to pick up their game in order to achieve their goal of playing at the provincial championships.
The first match at the Islands saw them rout Mount Douglas Secondary by a score of 56-18.
While the result gave them some confidence, they came up just short against a skilled Port Alberni team, losing 50-37.
“It was really close until the last couple minutes,” Barnes noted, but the team just couldn’t quite get over the hump.
In order to give themselves any chance, the players knew they would have to keep winning, and win they did.
The Tyees almost doubled up Wellington Secondary School 61-31, and knocked off their rivals from just south at Mark R Isfeld Secondary by a score of 57-43, placing them solidly in third place.
As the squad had yet to face the second place team, they were able to arrange a match with Stelly’s Secondary School, which took place in the middle of the week.
The team took a three hour bus ride to Victoria for the opportunity to nab a top-two spot.
Barnes said the game was close up until the fourth quarter, but the Tyees found an extra gear, and managed to prevail 61-45.
Strong defense from stalwarts Linnea Schaefer, and Gillianne Stewardson helped the top scorers Asha Jhawer, and captain Elena Skalik capitalize on the offensive end of the floor.
Barnes said the goal moving forward is a top-ten finish provincially, although he concedes anything can happen.
“There’s an opportunity to upset teams,” he said. “As there aren’t any true seedings.”
The many tournaments squads would play leading up to the provincials were few-and-far between this season, so a lot of teams will be going into games blind, unsure of what their opponents will be capable of.
With a hardworking team like the Tyees, a little grit on the court could go a long way.
The provincial championships will take place in Langley from March 2 to 5. The Tyees are scheduled to face Burnaby Central – the top team in the province – in their first game.
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