Silver lining for KLO Cougars
It was their only loss in two full seasons of basketball. And it came in the final of the B.C. Grade 9 girls basketball championship last weekend in Vancouver.
After 66 straight wins dating back to the start of the 2012-13 season, the KLO Cougars fell 32-27 to the Windsor Dukes in the provincial final on Saturday afternoon.
Still, head coach Jay Corrado was immensely proud of the effort of his KLO team.
"We finish our two-year run at 66-and-1," Corrado said. "But more important we had so much fun. The girls were not sad that we did not take the gold, but sad that the season was over."
The Okanagan-champion Cougars opened the tournament with a convincing 59-20 win over Windermere, then handled Heritage Woods 47-35.
In the semifinal, KLO defeated the Okanagan Mission Huskies 61-29, and looked in fine form heading into the final.
But against Windsor, the Cougars couldn't duplicate their red-hot shooting effort of the previous game.
"In the provincial championship game we did everything right but our shooting percentage dropped from a high the night before of 38 per cent and a 61-point outburst, to a tournament low of 22 per cent and 27 points," Corrado said.
"The Windsor Dukes from North Van matched up really well and had the tournament MVP."
Jayne Reid and Alley Corrado of the Cougars earned provincial tournament all-star recognition, while KLO teammate Courtney Donaldson was named the top defensive player at the tournament.
For Jay Corrado, it's been two rewarding seasons as the team's coach.
"Could not have asked for a better bunch of players, parents, teacher sponsor, school admin and coaches to work with," he said. "It was not about the win or the winning streak. It is so much more than that."
OKM gets 4th
Ranked fifth heading into provincials, the OKM Huskies did one better by finishing fourth at the B.C. Grade 9 girls basketball championship.
The Huskies won their opener 53-32 over Riverside, as Kiara Gaspari had 13 points, Hannah Walline added nine, and Marin Felt and Darian Mahmi scored eight each.
OKM's second game saw the first upset of the tourney as the Huskies beat No. 4 Vedder Vipers 40-18. Gaspari led the way with 16 points.
In the semifinals, OKM fell to their local rivals, KLO, 61-29. Gaspari led her team with 18.
In the bronze medal game, Lord Tweedsmuir defeated the Huskies 46-31.
Gaspari and Marin Felt had seven points each, while Kim Belanger had six.
Kiara Gaspari was named a tournament all-star, while Hannah Walline earned honourable mention.
“It is actually the games we lost that I am most proud of with this young group of ladies," said OKM coach Stewart Walline. "They developed more from those two games than anything else they did all season long. They played hard and supported each other for every second of every game and to me that kind of personal development is priceless.”
Walline also thanked OKM teacher and senior girls head coach Meghan Faust "for establishing and running the highly unique basketball P.E. program at OKM which is changing the dynamics of OKM basketball in its entirety."