The Immaculata Mustangs couldn’t repeat as Okanagan champs, but did what was necessary to secure a return trip to the B.C. girls AA high school basketball championship.
With the top three valley teams earning berths to provincials, the Mustangs held off the Okanagan Mission Huskies 79-78 to take the bronze medal Saturday night at OKM in the Okanagan championship tournament.
Despite placing fourth, the Huskies also qualified for the B.C. championship by a virtue of a wild card victory this week in Merritt.
In the bronze medal game, Ashlyn Day led Immaculata with a game-high 49 points while fellow senior Kate Johnson added 30 points.
The Mustangs led by as many as 22 but the Huskies took the game down to the wire with a strong second half.
Kiara Gaspari scored 27 points for Huskies.
Mustangs coach Andrew Gini said the one-point win was the result of a complete team effort.
“The majority of the points may have come from two players but the amount of teamwork and communication that goes on between all our players is great to watch,” said Gini, who also commended the play Gabby Cocar, Katarina Routley, Justin Puno and Mikhaela Holroid, and the moral support of Teghan Wallace who cheered her teammates on from the bench.
“Everyone played their role and did what it took to win. We have a lot of unselfish players that care about the team and win or lose have learned to give everything.”
The Huskies made good on their second chance to earn a spot at provincials, beating Holy Cross 73-49 on Tuesday night in a wild card game played in Merritt. Gaspari led the attack with 21 points for OKM.
The Mustangs and Huskies will head to the B.C. AA girls high school basketball championship March 1 to 4 at the Langley Events Centre.