As a team building exercise aimed at improving and getting set for playoffs, the KSS Owls senior girls basketball team had a solid weekend on the court, hosting the Best of the West girls basketball tournament.
On the court the team was also successful but came up just short against the Immaculata Mustangs in the final, dropping a 49-39 decision to the Mustangs, who claimed the tournament title.
“Our whole goal last week was to improve on breaking full court pressure and to play tough defense,” said KSS coach Lisa Nevoral. “I think we reached both goals this weekend and I am pleased with how the girls handled themselves under tough defense, especially Immacaulata’s full and half court defense. The girls didn’t back down and even though things didn’t always go their way, they continued to play hard.”
In the final, the first meeting between KSS and Immaculata in 11 years, the teams played a defensive battle that the Owls led 22-21 at the half. The second half was a see-saw battle that the Mustangs eventually took the lead and extended it late in the game, including a key three-pointer late that put the game out of reach for KSS.
But Nevoral said even with the loss, the game was a great team effort by the Owls.
“Even with a loss, the girls were able to break Immaculata’s full court press and played great defense on their team,” said Nevoral. “We limited their fast breaks to a handful and the score didn’t open up to a difference of 10 points until the last few minutes of the game. We can now go back to the drawing board and revisit where we need to improve as we head into the last few weekends of league play, and then Valleys at RSS.”
Immaculate coach Andrew Gini said it was a great experience for the Mustangs as they continue to work towards the playoffs as well.
“It was a great win for us as we have been looking forward to being able to play KSS” said Gini. “It was a different type of game then we are used to playing as we found ourselves in the half court a lot more then we would like. But, we learned a lot from it and will use this game to help us in our goal of winning provincials. Overall it was a great atmosphere and a competitive game and we look forward to being able to play each other more in the future.”
The Owls, ranked 10th in the province in the girls AAA basketball league, had opened the tournament with a 59-57 win over Vernon as Ellie McCarthy was named player of the game. Against Sheldon-Williams collegiate out of Saskatchewan, KSS had a 30 point win, winning 78-48 as every girl on the teams scored at least one basket. Avery Watson was named player of the game in the win.
In the final, Hannah Friesen was named the player of the game, bouncing back after being injured early in the tournament.
KSS now moves on to the final few weeks of league play in the Okanagan Valley before heading into the playoffs, which open with the Okanagan Valley Championships at RSS.