The Immaculata Mustangs’ Grade 9 girls team has written the latest chapter in the school’s long, rich and successful basketball tradition.
The Mustangs capped off a perfect 2011-12 season on Sunday at Dr. Knox Middle school with a 46-44 victory over the Seycove Seahawks in the final game of the B.C. championship tournament.
It was the first Grade 9 title for Immaculata in the school’s 52-year history.
Final game MVP Jaedyn Penkala led the Mustangs with 19 points and five rebounds, and also secured the victory with some decisive baskets from the foul line in the closing seconds.
Lindsay Lalach added 10 points, four rebounds and four steals as the Mustangs—the smallest school at the 16-team provincials—finished their remarkable season with a record of 30-0.
“What we saw this year was really impressive,” said Mustangs coach Bruno Oilveira. “It was an amazing journey, one that could have gone south at any time, but it didn’t. The girls were so mentally tough, they were so dialed in for every game and every tournament.
They didn’t look ahead, they just focused on every task…it was great to watch.”
Immaculata also survived a close call in the semifinal on Saturday with a tight, 47-44 win over Laurie Middle School from Cranbrook.
Game MVP Emma Johnson had 12 points, five steals and six rebounds for the Mustangs, Penkala added 13 points and six steals, and Emily Huber had 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Mustangs opened the tournament with a 82-32 win over Archbishop Carney, then took down Abbotsford Traditional 68-48.
Penkala and Johnson were both named to the tournament’s all-star team.
With the provincial gold medal Oliveria said his team can now share the school’s rich tradition and with great Mustangs teams of the past—particularly the senior girls’ squads which won five B.C. titles in seven years.
“I think it’s raised the bar again at the school, especially for our younger players, and it adds to the mystique and tradition that’s here,” said Oliveira. “It’s nice to see our young kids looking up to the older alumni, they look around and see all the trophies and banners. It’s pretty special.”
The Grade 9 members of the Mustangs are: Jaedyn Penkala Megan Hart, Dominique Kumalae, Erin Graham, Jeraime Puno, Lindsay Lalach, Hayley Slade, Nowah Bayani, Emma Green, Lora Miki, Emily Haber and Emma Johnson. Bruno and Patrick Oliveira are the coaches,
Three Grade 8 players also suited up: Amanda Grant, Ashley Prehofer, and Nicole Hart.
The host Dr. Knox Falcons won three of four games and finished fifth overall. Hannah Friesen of the Falcons was named a tournament all-star. KLO place eighth.