The junior girls basketball team at Sir Alexander Mackenzie School has once again made the community proud.
This season they got the second berth at zones in Prince George and qualified to compete at the Junior Girls Provincial Invitational Tournament held March 2 to 4 in Langley, where they emerged 15th out of 24 teams.
Coach Ryan Parr said the second berth placing at zones was a big test to the team.
“We lost in the final by two points, but the kicker was four out of five of our players were fouled out and watched a comfy 12-point lead diminish. That stung for us for a while and traumatized the girls.”
Nevertheless, the players had to regroup and prepare for provincials in Langley.
Parr said he did a lot of talking and giving encouragement.
Before they left for Langley, they practiced the Thursday evening, but the starting point guard sprained her ankle.
“We prayed,” Parr said. “She was good to go and played all weekend with an ankle that wasn’t 100 per cent.”
Another player plowed through with an ear infection, he added.
SAMS came into the tournament seeded in 21st place.
Their first game was against St. Thomas More Collegiate, seated at 12th place.
The game went back and forth in front of a packed house, and every play mattered, Parr said.
With a score that seemed to tie at every quarter, the game went into overtime and SAMS won 49-47
“It was a huge victory for us. The girls were riding high.”
The second game was against Argyle Secondary School, who had not been in provincials since 2016.
Parr said when he walked in and saw who the players were he thought ‘“oh no.”
“They had recruited players from all over and I knew all of them.”
SAMS did well but they were out-sized as the players on the Argyle team were very tall, with the tallest being six feet, four inches.
“We lost 59 to 39, which was not too bad. We definitely admired their team.”
A third game saw SAMS fall 59-44 against St. Michael’s University School and a fourth game loss of 58 to 51 against Fleetwood Park.
Things turned around in the final game against Royal Bay where SAMS was playing for 15th or 16th place.
“We won 60 to 52,” Parr said.
For the final game the coaches decided to run the entire bench.
The players were having fun, supporting each other.
When the score dropped to 18-2 with Royal Bay in the lead, Parr called a timeout after talking it over with his assistant and wife, Wilma Parr.
“My wife and I thought it looked like we could win the game, but it was up to the girls.”
Collectively the players decided they wanted to win so Parr put his starting five players onto the court and they closed the 18-2 gap and ended up winning.
Looking back over the season, Parr said it has had its adversities.
The two-day travel to provincials is always a factor, he added.
This year the team consisted of one Grade 8, several Grade 9s and three Grade 10s.
There was no senior team at the school this year, but there is a senior boys team who attended Single A provincials in Langley the following week.
“This was the first time in the history of SAMS school that we had two teams go to provincials,” Parr said.
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