The Bulkley Valley Christian School’s senior girls’ basketball team showed what teams from the North are made of, capturing third place in a cross-zone tournament in Valemount two weeks ago.
As part of the cross-zone tournament, seven single A schools from five different zones in the province competed against each other, giving the Royals a chance to see how they stacked up against teams from other zones.
“They played well, all the girls saw lots of playing time,” said head coach Ron Van Driel.
“It was a good weekend for us because we just haven’t played a lot. I saw improvement as we went from the beginning of the tournament to the end.”
First up, the team tipped off against the host Valemount Timberwolves.
Forward Flora Badi and Julie Bandstra helped lift the team to a 59-33 victory, scoring 14 points each.
The semi-finals was a hard-fought battle as the Royals took on St. Ann’s Academy from Kamloops.
After leading 32-26 at halftime and being tied 42 all after three quarters, the Royals struggled with turnovers in the fourth quarter and eventually dropped the game 64-44.
In the game for third place, the Royals took on the Timberwolves for a second time.
According to Van Driel, the Royals began to use their size to their advantage.
“The girls realized that they could use their size. We have a couple of taller players and we were finding ways to get the ball to them and we hadn’t really been doing that up to that point,” he said.
“Just keeping the ball above their head . . . our forwards were passing from forward to forward over the top.”
In the end, the Royals outscored the Timberwolves 68-33.
Badi lead the team in scoring, tallying 61 points over the three games, and was named the tournament team all-star.
Hannah Joseph, rookie Rebecca Svensson and guard Carley VanderHeyden also found the backboard tallying multiple points over the weekend.
The Royals finished the tournament just behind Unity Christian School from Chilliwack and St. Ann’s.
“Normally we just play teams from our zone and it’s just a good indicator to see where teams match up from different zones and things like that and it has a lot to do with seeding for provincials,” said Van Driel.
This weekend, the Royals will take on more familiar schools as they get set to host a zone play day with schools from Hazelton and Prince Rupert.
“We still have to finish a little bit better around the basket with either fast-break layups or just drives to the basket,” said Van Driel.
“We missed a lot of easier shots. They were shots under pressure, but we just didn’t finish very well and it’s something that we’re going to have to keep working on.”