Our Senior Basketball Angels settle for silver after a wonderful performance at this year’s BC Catholics. Great basketball and a huge upset to topple third-ranked STM in the semi finals made for a fantastic tournament. First-ranked STA were full value in claiming the championship
Around 5:00 pm there was already a large lineup of people outside Holy Cross for the 6:30 girls and boys BC Catholics Championship game. They were the ones fortunate enough to have tickets, as the event was entirely sold out. The event was so popular that people braved the cold hoping there would be extra tickets made available, helped in part by the host school having a team in the boy’s final (vs. Vancouver College).
It’s been a few years since LFA played in the BC Catholics championship game. And, in order to win, they would have to defeat the reigning 2018 Catholics champion STA Fighting Saints. STA is also the current #1 ranked provincial AA team, and boast three six foot plus players in their rotation.
It was always going to be a big ask of our Angels, but they were really appreciative of the opportunity and soaked in the atmosphere as they stepped onto the court in a sold out gym, music blaring, strobe lights flashing. You could really feel the electricity in the air and both teams must have felt the excitement and nervous energy. It will have been especially poignant for our graduating players, who had this opportunity in their last BC Catholics.
Off the tip off, won by Ashley Velasco ’19 over STA’s skyscraper of a center, Alexis Fong ’19 missed her three-point attempt and then LFA missed two other three point chances. STA also missed early attempts. Maybe the nerves showing on both teams? The Fighting Saints eventually scored first, nearly a minute a half into the game. Ceili Mc cabe’19 answered right back with a baseline jumper. Ashley and Alexis gave up 4-6 inches on their checks as they were given the task guarding the Fighting Saints post players. Their positional play was good but “taxing” on the body as they fought to keep the Fighting Saints posts from the low post and easy chip shots, but despite their efforts, STA was able to build a 33-20 half time lead.
In the third quarter, with the Holy Cross supporters clearly backing the underdogs and banging drums chanting “Flower Power”, the Angels battled back each time STA looked like they were going to run away with the score. Kayla Canama ’19 and Maya Landero van ’20 tried to make inroads, penetrating the key area. Their efforts opened things up for Alexis to hit a three, and then a baseline floater to cut the lead to six.
However, that would be as close as they got. It was about then that the Angels finally ran out of gas and looked exhausted from trying to defend STA’s post players, who were on a rotation that seemed to always have a fresh player inserted. STA were scoring off second and third rebound chances on most possessions. They pulled away and won 72-41. Every Angel saw game action and had the opportunity to soak in the experience. For all of the seniors, one doubts they will forget the amazing, boisterous support, the “Flower Power” chants and having played their hearts out, leaving everything on the court.
Congratulations to Ceili, our smallest Angel, and our heart and soul. She was chosen first team all-star (3rd in total tournament scoring) and “Inspirational Player” of the tournament. Ashley, with her amazing vertical, that’s arguably one of the best defensive players in an LFA uniform, was awarded second team all-star. Alexis, the team’s “glue” player and three point shooter, was selected as a second team all-star (5th in total tournament scoring) and recipient of a BC Catholics Championship Scholarship.