Mark Isfeld Ice junior girls’ basketball team proved they belonged with the best in the province on the weekend, coming away with a .500 record (2 wins, 2 losses) at the 16-team B.C. Championships at the Langley Events Centre.
Coming in as the Vancouver Island #2 rep, Isfeld opened against B.C. #4 seeded M.E.I. secondary from the Fraser Valley. The Ice held their own in the first half with a strong defensive effort, trailing 14-9 at the quarter and down only seven at the half, 25-18. The very physical M.E.I. team pulled away in the second half to a 60-30 win, but it was a gritty effort by the Ice.
Melia Irvine led the Ice with 13 very tough points while Avery Snider added seven points, including a trey. M.E.I. went on the place third in the championships.
The Ice had to re-group and play against a tough Prince George Duchess Park. Leading 10-7 at the quarter, 16-11 at the half and 21-16 after three quarters, the Ice could not close out with bad luck around the hoop in the final quarter, losing 27-24. Irvine again led the Ice with 10 while Michaela Ashlee added eight.
The Ice regrouped and defeated Charles Hays from Prince Rupert 34-11 on Friday to advance to the consolation winners side of the draw. Shimen Fayad led the Ice’s well distributed scoring with eight points with all players contributing to the victory.
Isfeld faced the Selkirk Storm in their final game and it was a very competitive, well played tilt. Isfeld’s defence smothered a very athletic opposition holding Selkirk to eight first-half points with the Ice leading 24-8. Danielle Vanbergen hit eight first-half outside shots for points while Ashlee drove and dished assists a la Steve Nash. Camille Bourget, Fayad, Hana Kirk and Yasmine Boilard were very physical inside presences and shut down the opponents.
An Ashlee trey and good court leadership by Snider helped continue the strong offensive play in the second half. Then, MacKenzie and Kirk decided to take over the game, scoring 12 second-half points on open shots or driving baskets. Shimen established her inside touch, finishing with eight points, Irvine the warrior finished with 13 while Vanbergen added 10 timely, mostly long distance, points. A textbook steal by Rachel Dunn highlighted the 49-31 Ice victory in what was truly an inspired team effort.
“To qualify for the Provincials is very, very difficult, particularly for teams living in smaller communities, and the girls should be very proud of that let alone winning almost three games at the B.C.s,” noted coach Hugh MacKinnon. “The Ice are the only junior girls b-ball team to qualify for the Provincials from the Comox Valley since I have been here (1989) I believe – quite an accomplishment.
“ We lost two key forwards, Jessica Drummond and Leah Cicon, to knee injuries and they could not play but were spirit leaders on the bench throughout. And, to note that two of our losses in the last two weeks were to Oak Bay, who went on to win the Provincials, and M.E.I. who placed third, tells you that our girls are very close to top echelon of girls basketball in the province, something they and the whole community should be very proud of,” MacKinnon said.
“The girls became the tournament spirit leaders, leading the crowd cheering and painting their faces cheering on our Island sister school Oak Bay in the semifinals and finals. Co-coach Evan Irvine and I are extremely proud of these fine athletes and ambassadors of the Comox Valley who sing Adele songs very loud in the van. Well done, Isfeld!”
– Isfeld Ice basketball