The Vanier Towhees and the Highland Raiders have qualified for the junior girls basketball Island championships, this weekend at Belmont Secondary in Langford.
Vanier and Highland finished second and third respectively at the North Island Championships last weekend at Alberni Secondary. There were eight teams competing.
Highland started the tournament with a hard-fought victory over Ladysmith, setting up a semi-final meeting against Vanier. Another hard-fought game culminated in a high-scoring fourth quarter where Highland battled back from a 10-point deficit to take the lead, only to lose a heartbreaker 59-58.
The Raiders needed to win their next two games to qualify for Islands. The first was against Nanaimo Secondary, the top mid-Island seed. Highland led start to finish to win the game, which pitted them against crosstown rival Isfeld in the third-place game. The Ice started strong and jumped out to a 30-19 halftime lead, but Highland regrouped defensively in the second half, allowing just five points en route to a 40-35 win.
In the other semi, ADSS beat Isfeld 32-31. The host team went on to defeat Vanier 35-30 to win the tournament and claim the top seed for the North Island.
Islands open Friday at Belmont. Highland plays Pacific Christian, Vanier plays the host school, and Alberni plays St. Michaels University School.