Ranked fifth heading into the tournament, the Kelowna Owls turned out to be worthy of something even better at the B.C. junior girls’ basketball championship.
The KSS squad captured the bronze medal at provincials, defeating Victoria’s Oak Bay 52-40 in the third-place game Saturday afternoon in Langley.
Kelowna’s Taya Hanson was named a first-team all-star and the top defensive player.
In addition, the Owls were selected as the tourney’s most sportsmanlike team.
“This tournament was an amazing way to end a spectacular season,” said Owls coach Kim Whelpton. “The girls played their hearts out, supported each other and had a lot of fun along the way. To win a bronze medal and the most sportsmanlike team award speaks volumes of their character. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The Owls opened provincials with a 48-30 victory over Yale, with Chelsea Espenberg being named player of the game.
In the quarterfinals, KSS defeated Abbotsford’s MEI 42-35, who the Owls has lost to earlier in the year. Abby Cullen earned top player honours.
In the semifinals, the Owls fell behind early and trailed 38-8 at halftime against No. 1 ranked Lord Tweedsmuir. KSS fought back before eventually falling 60-50.
“I think we got caught up in the production of the semi-final game in that first half,” Whelpton said. “Once we settled our nerves things started to happen more naturally on offense.”
Hanson was named the games’s top player.
In the bronze medal game vs. Oak Bay, the Owls learned from their mistakes the previous day and came out in an effective full court man to man press that put them up 23-7 in the first quarter.
After a large second quarter game delay—due to a serious injury to an opposing player—the girls lost their momentum and struggled to get anything going offensively being held to two points for a half time score of 24-19.
In the fourth the Owls regained their earlier momentum off of tenacious defense against Oak Bay and held on for a 12 point win and the bronze medal.
Rene Watson earned top player honours for the Owls in their final game.