Isfeld won the junior girls Ice Invitational basketball tourney on the weekend. Photo by Craig Sorochan SD71

Isfeld won the junior girls Ice Invitational basketball tourney on the weekend. Photo by Craig Sorochan SD71

Courtenay school wins junior girls basketball tourney

The host Isfeld Secondary won the junior girls Ice Invitational basketball team on the weekend.

The Ice kicked off the tourney with a 63-18 win over Isfeld Brentwood College.

“We overwhelmed them early with our full court defensive pressure,” coach Colin Cunningham said. “The game was well in hand and everyone on the Ice played lots of minutes and played well.

Players of the game for the Ice were Makenna Banks and Lanny Russell. Isfeld was thrilled to see their Grade 10 leader (Lanny) return from a long absence due to injury.

The win set up a semi-final match-up against cross-town rival Vanier, who had scored a lop-sided win over Ballenas.

“Vanier is always known for playing hard and getting after the ball so we were prepared for a touch match-up,” Cunningham said. “The score was not indicative of how hard both teams battled in front of a large, supportive crowd.”

The final score was 60-17 Isfeld. Players of the game for Isfeld were Katie Hartig (Grade 10 forward led all scorers with 20 in the game) and Gia Parhar.

This set up a re-match in the battle for firt between Isfeld and Claremont — who had met earlier in the year at the 16-team Island Challenge in Victoria. That game was probably the low point of Isfeld’s season, losing by more than 20. This time, however, Isfeld set the defensive tone early with their high energy press and stingy team defence, allowing only four points through most of the first half. The half ended with Isfeld up 20 but it didn’t feel safe and the Ice were determined to finish the game with defensive intensity and execution on offence. They did just that, cruising to a 58-29 victory with all players seeing lot of floor time. Elana Russell led all scorers with 17 points. Players of the game for the Ice were Annika Tran for her relentless defense and key steals, and Phoebe Cunningham who played big minutes (due to an ankle injury sustained by key Grade 9 forward Makenna Banks in the Vanier game) and made key plays at both ends of the court.

Vanier had a thrilling final game, losing by two to league rival Alberni and finishing fourth. Highland Secondary had a couple of exciting finishes on the back side of the draw but lost a couple of close ones to finish eighth.

Isfeld plays at Vanier Tuesday for their last league game of the year. They host the first round (North-North Zone) of playoffs starting Thursday at Isfeld. The top three teams in the zone advance to North Islands at Wellington in Nanaimo Feb. 9-11. Islands are Feb. 16-18 at SMUS in Victoria.

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