Claremont senior girls will be in tough at provincial hoops tournament

Saanich team faces highly ranked Brookswood in B.C. AAA championships opener next week

Claremont Spartans senior girls basketball players and coaches hope they’re peaking at the right time.

The team heads into next week’s B.C AAA high school girls championships in Langley on a high, after beating arch-rival Oak Bay Breakers 64-63 with a late basket by Mia Brooker in the Island final at Claremont last Saturday.

“Oak Bay is a really good team,” Spartans co-coach Darren Reisig said by way of understatement. “They showed just how good, by pounding us by 30 points one game and by 25 in another (earlier this season).”

Not that Claremont is any slouch, having been ranked in the B.C. top 10, not far back of Oak Bay, in recent polls.

The tournament will be tough from the start for the Spartans, as they play Brookswood from Langley in their opener next Wednesday. Oak Bay opens against Burnaby South.

Reisig said Brookswood and Holy Cross of Surrey have been ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, all year and have proven themselves to be a notch above most teams in the province.

After that it’s up for grabs, he said.

“Not being a big team we have to rely on our outside shooting,” he said. “(Holy Cross) starts three players who are taller than me.”

The Spartans’ outside game was a key factor in last weekend’s matchup against the Breakers. Led by tournament most valuable player Calli McMillan, who hit six three-pointers in the game, Claremont made the most of their opportunities and held the lead for much of the first three quarters.

Oak Bay went on a run in the fourth and led by four with two minutes to go, but were unable to seal the deal.

The Breakers’ Lauren Yearwood was named the tournament’s defensive most valuable player.

Mount Doug, who beat Stelly’s in the third-fourth place game at Claremont, lost 80-45 to Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles in a challenge game Monday in Langley for entry into the provincials. Carly Sangha led the Rams in that game with 14 points.

Island tournament first team all-stars were Morgan Roskelley (Oak Bay), Marissa Dheensaw (Claremont), Carly Sangha (Mt. Doug), Haley Cabral (Claremont) and Chloe Campbell (Oak Bay). On the second team were Emma Shires (Dover Bay), Jill Thibault (Claremont), Olimpia Ruffolo (Spectrum), Julia Gallant (Mt. Doug) and Alynn Dagg (Stelly’s).