Following an outstanding season, the Smithers Secondary senior girls headed into the B.C.’s provincial championships seeded 13th. Despite exceptional effort from the team, they came up a bit shorter than they had hoped going into the tournament.
They faced a very strong number-four ranked Okanagan Mission in their first game. The girls struggled early in the game and soon fell behind and were never able to close the gap as OKM went on to win 62-37. Top scorer for the Gryphons was Braelynn Berarducci who led with 10 points.
In their second game, they played SMU from Victoria. They had an outstanding start and led the game going into half-time. They maintained the lead into the third quarter, but poor communication lead to foul trouble and easy buckets for the opposition as SMU pulled away with a 72-57 win. Haley Hanchard led with 22 points while Tamiya Ness put away 13 points.
In game three, the girls faced Selkirk and cruised to a 59-35 win. Aleigha Young Lowry had a huge game with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while McKinley Unruh added eight points and 18 rebounds.
That win put the girls in a battle for 13th or 14th place against a tough Westsyde team and, despite being close through the first half, the Gryphons faded down the stretch, losing 57-33.
While the 14th place finish was not in the top 10 goal that the girls had set for the season, they had the best finish in recent memory and should be very proud of their work. They were highly competitive once again despite not having their two Grade 12s players in top form. Chantal Gammie was sick and Faja Rudolph was injured.
The girls hope to return a full squad of Grade 12s to the event next year and push into the top 10 or better.
Coach Chris Van der Mark was more than pleased with his charges.
“We played against teams that play many more games than we can play and they play-year round in leagues. We can’t be disappointed with our results,” he said.
He also wanted to extend a big thank-you to the parents for their amazing work in fundraising and to the community in general, especially Oscar’s Source for Adventure, Subway and Seabridge Gold.