The 2018 B.C. AAA girls high school champion Kelowna Owls: (top, left) Taya Hanson, Rylee Semeniuk, Kennedy Dickie, Paige Watson, Jaeli Ibbetson, Jordan Kemper, Jenna Holland, (front) Kasey Patchell, Rachel Hare, Dez Day, Kassidy Day and Kyara Klempner.                                -Image: Contributed

The 2018 B.C. AAA girls high school champion Kelowna Owls: (top, left) Taya Hanson, Rylee Semeniuk, Kennedy Dickie, Paige Watson, Jaeli Ibbetson, Jordan Kemper, Jenna Holland, (front) Kasey Patchell, Rachel Hare, Dez Day, Kassidy Day and Kyara Klempner. -Image: Contributed

KSS Owls soar to B.C. senior girls title

KSS upsets Walnut Grove to capture the school’s and Okanagan’s first provincial AAA basketball title

Ranked No. 2 for much of the year, there was only one obstacle the Kelowna Owls had yet to clear during the high school basketball season.

On Saturday in Langley, the KSS senior girls crossed that final and triumphant hurdle with a 67-61 victory over the favoured and top-ranked Walnut Grove Gators in the B.C. AAA championship game.

The Owls, who had lost to the Gators in two previous meetings this season, put on a stifling defensive display—complimented by a finely-tuned, opportunistic offensive attack—to give KSS, Kelowna and the Okanagan their first ever provincial AAA girls’ title.

“I am just so proud of our team,” said Owls’ senior Taya Hanson. “All the work we put into it, just all being together and playing as one, it was an unreal experience.

“It really felt like the work all paid off,” she added. “To represent Kelowna and the Okanagan and win that championship, will definitely go down in history for us.”

Hanson, who returned from a year of basketball in Ontario to play out her Grade 12 season in Kelowna, sealed her high school career in style with 18 points, 11 rebounds and MVP honours for the provincial tournament.

Grade 11 post Kennedy Dickie delivered one of her best efforts of the season, leading the Owls with 21 points in the final, while Grade 12 guard Dez Day tossed in 11 points, including three conversions from beyond the arc.

Dickie and Jaeli Ibbetson both earned tournament all-star recognition, while Darren Semeniuk was named the top coach.

The Owls, coached by the son and mom team of Darren and Heather Semeniuk, and Quentin Thiessen, made a commitment to a full-court, pressure defense approach after Christmas. It turned out to be the perfect solution against the talent-laden Gators, featuring the likes of Tavia Rowell, Nathalie Rathler and Jessica Wisotzki.

“With Darren’s leadership and Quintin’s work on defense, we always believed defense was where the answer was,” said Heather. “A credit to the girls, they responded, followed the plan and believed in it, too. That was a really good team we beat.”

For seniors Hanson, Day, Rachel Hare and Kasey Patchell, it was their final games at KSS. With most players on the Owls coming up through the club system together, Semeniuk said it was among the tightest-knit, committed group she’s had the pleasure of working with in all her years on the hardwood.

“This is a very special and unique group, these girls are all really dialed into the sport, they’re all really invested in it,” Semeniuk said. “To get to that stage, to that big game and see how they competed, and then come through with the win was really special to see.”

For Hanson, who played at a prep school last year in Brantford, ON, it was the ideal conclusion to her high school career.

Next season, she’ll join the Arizona State University Sun Devils program in Tempe, AZ.

“I’m so happy I came back, what an amazing way to finish it off with just a lovely group of girls and people,” Hanson added. “We want to embrace this and make it last. We wanted to win this for each other. It’s something I’m sure we’ll never forget.”

In reaching Saturday’s B.C. final against Walnut Grove, the Owls posted convincing wins at provincials over Heritage Woods, Argyle and Semiamhoo.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@capnewsports

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Owls’ senior Taya Hanson was named MVP of the provincial championship. -Image: Garrett James/Langley Events Centre

Owls’ senior Taya Hanson was named MVP of the provincial championship. -Image: Garrett James/Langley Events Centre

Just Posted

COVID-19 test tube. (Via Getty)
COVID-19 moving out of southern Interior and into the north: IH

IH says vaccinations reaching care homes, Big White cluster hard to control, virus spike in Fernie

Kelowna International Airport. (Contributed)
Contactless parking payment available at YLW

Kelowna International Airport parking now compatible with the PayByPhone application

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
Outbreak at Kelowna long term care home declared over

Penticton, Kelowna long term care home outbreaks declared over Jan. 20

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES)
Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

Stats show every major community in Okanagan - Shuswap increased in calls for potential overdoses

The Regional District of North Okanagan is cautioning residents to watch for rock slides along the Okanagan Rail Trail during freeze-thaw season. (RDNO photo)
Residents urged to watch for rockfalls on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO reminds rail trail travellers to heed rockfall warning signs during freeze-thaw season

Charlotte is one of the resident pigs at Star's Piggly Wiggly's Sanctuary near Kelowna. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Kelowna-area pig sanctuary needs a new home

Star’s Piggly Wiggly’s Sanctuary is looking for properties in Vernon, Coldstream, and Enderby

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Public provoking blamed for moose chasing Okanagan residents

‘The problem is people are bugging it’ conservation officer

Most Read