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

Rockets drop close match to Everett Silvertips

The Rockets lose 3-1 to one of the WHL’s best

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

Okanagan College basketball wraps up regular season

Coyotes’ squads will finish the season with two games against Capilano

Death Café returns to Okanagan

Vernon, Kelowna and Summerland events toast touchy subject

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Expect delays on Highway 1 west of Golden due to vehicle fire

Expect delays while driving Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. Drive BC… Continue reading

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Semi loses control on Highway 97A in Shuswap

Slippery roads contribute to crash of transport truck carrying tires

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Syrian refugee responds to racism in Canada

Guest columnist Mustafa Zaqrit

Lower Mainland boy shot with pellet gun

Surrey RCMP believe Cloverdale pellet gun incidents are ‘linked’

Most Read