Kelowna Owls’ ‘D’ leads the way over Walnut Grove

Kelowna defensive pressure proves to be too much for Gators in B.C. AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre

It was a dream start but a nightmare finish for the Walnut Grove Gators.

But while their night still had a silver lining, unfortunately, for them, they had their sights set on the gold.

Playing the top-ranked Kelowna Owls in the championship final of the B.C. AAA girls provincial basketball finals on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, the third-ranked Gators had a great first quarter before the Owls’ defence turned the game in favour of the Okanagan visitors.

Kelowna would win 67-61.

“It wasn’t looking good, our game plan was to try and get the ball out Tavia’s (Rowell) hands and her teammates were hitting shots,” said Kelowna coach Darren Semeniuk.

That opening quarter saw the Gators score eight field goals, half of which came from beyond the arc, to take a 20-11 lead after 10 minutes.

“But we stuck with it and we kind of forced the issue a little bit defensively and tried to wear her down a little bit,” he said.

The plan worked.

Kelowna responded to take a 35-30 lead at the half and then stretched the advantage to 13, leading 56-43 after three quarters.

Walnut Grove would get as close as four points, 59-55, with 4:30 to go, but that would be as close as they could get.

“They just notched up their defence and their press just caused us problems getting into our half court set and I really attribute it to their defence and our inability to move the ball the way we wanted to,” said Gators coach Darren Rowell

“But kudos to Kelowna. When we fell flat, we tried a number of things that didn’t work for us and they just took us out of our game and disrupted us. Their defence was just at another level.”

“But our girls battled really hard and we are so proud of them,” he added.

This was the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with Walnut Grove winning the first two.

But Kelowna employed a different defence this time around.

“We learned we could get up and defend them little more. We played it safe the first two games,” Semeniuk said.

“They all bought into it and it showed out there.”

Walnut Grove committed 29 turnovers compared to just 14 for Kelowna.

Taya Hanson won the player of the game as well as the most valuable player awards for the Owls.

“We have worked so hard this year on our defence, every practice, we have been relentless and I think that showed in this game,” she said.

Hanson — who is off to Arizona State next year — had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

“We just had to keep grinding as a team and keep pushing every possession,” she said about her team’s mindset.

“We have some amazing depth with great shooters. Them playing in the zone helped us to find those open shots. I am so proud of my team for hitting those.”

The Owls’ Kennedy Dickie led all scorers with 21 points while also grabbing seven rebounds.

Tavia Rowell led Walnut Grove with 19 points while Sophia Wisotzki had 16 points. Wisotzki, just in Grade 9, was also named the touranment’s most outstanding defensive player.

Neither team had ever won a provincial banner and the silver marks an all-time best for Walnut Grove.

Semeniuk said the the championship is for all of Kelowna and the community coaches who have played a part in developing his players.

“For us to bring home a provincial championship is really a testament to all those coaches who have worked with these girls.”

Hanson returned to Kelowna after a year away for basketball.

“What a way to end, coming home, it is just incredible,” she said.

“I can’t wrap my brain around it. It was such an amazing experience.”

The Gators can be buoyed by the fact they lose just one starter, first team all-star Natalie Rathler, and the fact they gain some more talented players after the school’s junior team won the provincial title earlier in the day.

Rowell was also named a first team all-star while Jessica Wisotzski (Walnut Grove) and Jenna Dick (Brookswood) weresecond team all-stars. Dick helped the ’Cats to a fifth-place finish.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Kelowna vs Walnut Grove, AAA girls final at Langley Events Centre. Greg Laychak Black Press

Just Posted

Rental housing proposed for Kelowna’s BC Tree Fruit site

Proposal will add 148 new rental units on old packinghouse site

Kelowna-based pot chain acquired by international cannabis company

Compass Cannabis Clinic acquired in multi-million dollar deal by Isodiol International Inc.

Life on Munson Pond looking pretty bright

Earth Day event in Kelowna showcases work that’s four years in the making

Reel Reviews: Parlour games or video games

We say, “Rampage is silly fun and Truth or Dare is just silly”

Rain barrels, compost bins popular on Earth Day in Kelowna

Regional District’s annual sale sees all rain barrels sell in 90 minutes

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Turbulent times for outgoing B.C. Lieutenant Governor

Judith Guichon ends term today, returns to Nicola Valley ranch

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Maple Leafs look to stay alive tonight as they face elimination against Boston on home ice

Update: Penticton sign gets upgrade

$10-million competition for Pentic-ten

Woman found dead in car in Kamloops

A woman was found dead in a car in Kamloops, while two men also found unconscious

Electric vehicles more affordable than you think: BC Hydro

Myths blocking road to electric vehicle adoption

Kinder Morgan bungled pipeline public relations: poll

The survey suggests 58 per cent of Canadians believe the company is to blame for poor perceptions

Plane makes a surprise landing on the Coquihalla

Social media was alive Sunday night with pictures from Coquihalla commuters.

Royal baby: It’s a boy for Kate and William

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces.

Most Read