The Charles Hays senior girls Rainmakers made a valiant attempt to be the second Prince Rupert girls’ basketball team to win two zones in two weekends, but the Caledonia Kermodes proved to be too tough a test for the ‘Makers on Saturday.
After coach Sara Barrow’s crew took down Kitimat’s Mount Elizabeth Secondary School (MESS) at the Smithers-hosted tournament, the team met up with their Highway 16 rivals in the 2015 final and it was the Kermodes who got the better of the Rainmakers, winning 59-27 for the Northwest ‘AA’ title.
“Our game against Caledonia was a bit disappointing. We started off real slow and found ourselves in a hole at the end of the first quarter with a score of 28-2. Their top scorer, Kaehalli Pelltier, scored 18 points in the first quarter and hit three three-pointers,” said Barrow.
“We were able to stay with them a bit better in the rest of the quarters, but it was already too late.”
The loss came one year after the 2014 version of the senior girls Rainmakers defeated Smithers Secondary for the zones championship.
From the outset of the season, the squad was shorthanded through a devastating injury that forced team captain Tanveen Randhawa to the sidelines in December. Her achilles tendon required surgery after Randhawa pulled it in a routine practice. Randhawa has played on the seniors’ team since Grade 10.
“[She] would have been our starting point guard this year,” said Barrow.
The team also lost a chance to get in some more game time action just prior to zones when a play day to be held in Smithers on Feb. 7 was cancelled due to extreme snow and icy road conditions on Highway 16.
Despite losing in the final, Barrow saw encouraging signs from the team in the game against MESS that should prove helpful in next year’s season.
“We won by 10 points,” said the coach.
“Defensively we played well, allowing Kitimat to only score 37 points. Offensively we had a bit of trouble getting the ball to the hoop – we had a lot of chances but the ball just didn’t seem to drop.”
Graduating players on the 2014-15 team include all-star Morgan Weir, Ashtyn Andreesen, Harjyot Sidhu and Randhawa.
Despite losing the majority of their starters to graduation, next year’s crew will have the benefit of experience as Barrow brought with the team two Grade 10 girls to the tourney – Suttira Johansen and Brooke Andreesen.
“They were able to add a defensive presence to our game,” said the coach.
In reviewing the season, Barrow was quick to acknowledge the hard work her team put into their game on the court.
“We had a solid core of eight girls who played the entire season. The girls worked hard and were a determined group. Many of them took the time to work on their skills and strength throughout the basketball class that’s run through the school,” she said.
Caledonia will now advance to provincials, held in Langley from March 4 – 7. Their qualification is a big notch in the belt for the Terrace team’s program.