by EVAN MATTHEWS
The Secondary School’s Senior Girls’ Basketball team has clinched a spot at the Provincial Championships, qualifying for the first time since 2012.
Having won two of three games (2-1 record) at the North Central Zone Championships, the girls clinched second place in their zone and punched their tickets to Provincials.
Team Captain Shae-Lynn Carlson says heading to Provincials is the only motivation the team needed this season.
“We haven’t attended Provincials during our basketball careers. Our senior team has been composed mostly of junior players until this year,” says Carlson.
“We have worked our way up from the bottom — where we ranked last during the 2014 Zone Championship — all the way up to 2nd place, earning a provincial berth,” she says.
Last weekend, Valemount beat Fort St. James by a score of 94-18 in their first game, and then topped Northside by a score of 64-56 in their second. In their third and final game of the weekend, Valemount played Cedars Christian — the only team ranked higher with the North Central Zone — ultimately dropping a tight contest by the score of 65-53.
Eleven teams competed in the Zone Championships, with the first, second and third place finishers all qualifying for Provincials. The top three finishers of the Zone Championships included first place Cedars Christian, Valemount Secondary, and Northside Christian.
“We have worked extremely hard to get to this point, and we didn’t work this hard to (stop now),” Team Captain Shae-Lynn Carlson
Provincials take place from Mar. 8 – 11 and will be hosted by Duncan Christian School, in Duncan, B.C. The Provincial schedule is to be released on Mar. 1, according to coach Tim Nusse.
The top three finishers of the Zone Championships included first place Cedars Christian, Valemount Secondary, and Northside Christian.
Contrary to the injury plagued 2012 Provincial team, Nusse says conditioning has been the key to keeping this year’s roster healthy.
Maintaining the team’s conditioning, along with securing funds and organizing the girls’ schoolwork in such a way that they are able to miss a full week of school, will remain as challenges heading in to the Provincial Championships.
“An entire week of travel with extra expenses because of the ferry fees, etc., means we estimate the entire trip will cost roughly $7,000,” says Nusse.
“Half of (the cost) are motel expenses,” he says.
With an abundance of highly skilled teams the Valemount Senior Girls will play against, fellow Team Captain, Danni-Lee Hystad, says Provincials will be a welcomed and exciting challenge before many of her teammates retire, and Carlson agrees.
“Some of us may not play in post-secondary, so this is our last chance to leave it all on the court, and have no regrets when we are finished,” says Carlson.
“We have worked extremely hard to get to this point, and we didn’t work this hard to (stop now).”
Valemount is currently ranked 7th Provincially in the ‘A’ Girls Division.