The Mark Isfeld Ice Grade 9-aged junior girls basketball team went with high hopes to the Vancouver Island Grade 10 championships in Shawnigan Lake on the weekend.
Seeded North #3, the Ice had the unenviable task of facing B.C. #3 and South Island #1 Oak Bay from Victoria in their first game on Thursday. Amazingly, the Isfeld girls held their own against an extremely strong team.
The Ice trailed 9-6 after one quater with treys from Michaela Ashlee and an amazing long-distance buzzer beater by Leah Cicon that rattled the heavily favoured Oak Bay team. Unfazed by their opposition’s resume, the Ice continued to compete and were down only 17-11 at the half with creative second-quater buckets by Danielle Vanderbergen and feisty defence by all.
Although the top-ranked Bays pulled away in the third to lead 46-23, the Ice displayed their never-give-up season-long attitude and scored 15 fourth-quarter points, including five from Avery Snider and two baskets from Yasmine Bollard, leaving a respectable final score with a 20-point Oak Bay victory.
Moving to the consolation side, Isfeld now faced host Shawnigan and jumped to a 17-11 first-quarter lead with Camille Bourget igniting the fast start with a quick basket. The Ice shut out Shawnigan in the second quarter to lead 32-11 at half time on strong defensive play from Melia Irvine, Leah Cicon, Yasmine, Robin, Hana and Kayla and key baskets by MacKenzie, Avery and Danielle.
The final 54-32 score gave the young Ice their first Island championship victory – with the help of the rabid cheering Isfeld senior girls basketball team who were kind enough to show support between their games at the senior Islands. The girls also attended the University of Victoria women’s and men’s basketball games Friday night, enjoying court-side seating.
Completing the tournament, Isfeld faced B.C. honourable mention to Top 10 provincially ranked Claremont on Saturday morning. Unfortunately both head coach Grant Ashlee and assistant coach Hugh MacKinnon forgot to bring their alarm clocks to the gym and the Ice girls did not wake up until the second quarter, with Claremont jumping to a 14-point lead.
However, the determined Ice squad came back strong, outscoring Claremont in each of the next three quarters only to lose by nine points. Michaela Ashlee had her best game, netting 12 points, while Danielle added eight and Mackenzie Kirk drained two long-distance baskets.
Coach Ashlee was extremely proud of the girls efforts and willingness to learn and improve throughout the year and thanks the parents and administration and athletic department at Isfeld for their support. “Everyone is excited about next year as the entire team could return to compete in the same junior girls division,” a team spokesperson said.