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Riverside Rapids in sight of FV title
With a berth in the AAA female high school basketball championships already locked up, it would be easy for the Riverside Rapids to lose focus in the final games of the Fraser Valley playoffs.
But the team does not need any motivation when they take on Holy Cross on Friday, a club the Rapids have yet to defeat this season.
“We want the [Fraser Valley] championship,” said head coach Paul Langford on Thursday, the day before a semifinal match. “We don’t take anything for granted.”
Holy Cross has been ranked second in the province for most of the 2013-2014 regular season. They are a big team made up of mostly talented Grade 12 players, Langford said. Further tipping the scales in the home team’s favour is the fact that the Rapids have injuries to several key players, he added.
“It will be a heck of a challenge for us,” Langford said. “They have lots of heights and we don’t match up as well.”
The team’s injury woes were on display against Maple Ridge Tuesday night. Riverside managed to win, thanks in large part to the play of Grade 10 forward Amanda Matsui. She led the game on the stats sheet, putting up 21 of the Rapids’ 39 points to edge the visiting Maple Ridge club by 11.
“Amanda Matsui bailed us out,” Langford said. “She is a shy kid, but she is very talented when she plays.”
Tuesday night’s game was not the first time the Rapids have been helped by their young, Grade 10 players.
Jessica Castillo led the squad in points during Monday’s rout against Chilliwack secondary, when she scored 15 points in a 76-21 victory.
Langford said the performance of the Grade 10s, as well as the strong showing Riverside’s junior squad is having at the Fraser Valley championships, bodes well for his club’s future. A victory on Friday means the senior Rapids would take on whichever team wins between Brookswood secondary and W.J. Mouat secondary in the championship final.
Riverside is not the only Tri-City squad making their way through the Fraser Valley championships this week.
The Charles Best secondary Blue Devils started the tournament with a 52-43 victory over Lord Tweedsmuir on Monday, but dropped a 97-53 decision to Brookswood, one of the top-ranked team in the province.
The loss set the stage for a Tri-City rivalry game between the Blue Devils and the Terry Fox Ravens Thursday night after The Tri-City News’ deadline.
The Ravens have struggled so far in the tournament, losing 111-14 against Holy Cross on Monday, before bouncing back with a 53-50 win over Coquitlam’s Gleneagle secondary Talons on Tuesday.