Junior girls on the hunt for B.C. crown

Making a return to the 2015 provincial basketball tournament in Langley this weekend is the CHSS junior girls squad.

They’re the best junior girls basketball team in Northwest B.C. and this weekend, they’ll find out how they measure up against the entire province.

Head coach Anna Ashley’s Charles Hays Rainmakers junior girls squad face some stiff competition in the next few days as they attempt to try and bring home the provincial banner in their return to the 2015 TELUS Junior Girls Provincial Basketball Championships in Langley from March 4 – 7.

One year stronger and one year wiser from last year’s 17th-place showing, Ashley’s squad is looking to move up the rankings, though the numbers, stats and final results aren’t everything.

“I am hoping that we will persevere and work hard no matter what situation we are faced with. Junior girls’ provincials does not differentiate between sizes of schools so we’ll be going up against some extremely tough competition. I expect them to play hard on defence and never give up … I know the girls will make us all proud,” said the coach.

Some returning teams from 2014’s tournament include last year’s fourth, fifth and sixth-placed teams Yale, Seycove and Lord Tweedsmuir respectively.

The seventh, eighth and ninth-finishing teams are coming back with Kelowna, Panorama Ridge and Oak Bay, respectively taking part.

The Rupert team consists of strong starters and bench-players including Grade 10 standouts Suttira Johansen, Brooke Andreesen (both of whom played with the Charles Hays senior girls’ team at their zones tournament last weekend), Ruby Mason, Marissa Innes, Leanne Greeff, Brittany Waite and Celina Pereira.

Waite will be unable to attend as she continues to recover from an injury.

“We will be focusing on keeping strong defensively and keeping our composure in game situations. We will need to be able to adapt to various presses,” said the coach.

Ashley was glad to have zones MVP Mason’s performance be as dominant as it was in the Northwest regional tourney and hopes her hot hand continues into this week – though, Mason won’t be the only one the Rainmakers will want firing on all cylinders.

“Ruby’s a good ball handler and has the ability to see the floor well. She’s also a team player and uses the talents of her teammates to make the entire team better … I will also be looking to all of my players both offensively and defensively. Suttira, Tara, Marissa, Carly Cochrane and Brooke are all also strong,” she said.

“Our success flows from our ability to use each others’ strengths and work as a team.”

The first game for the ‘Makers is against the top seed, Lord Tweedsmuir, on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the single-elimination format.

“They work hard, are determined and work together. I’m really proud of them all,” said Ashley.