Grand Forks Secondary School junior girls basketball team finished second in the Damsels in the Castle Touranment in Castlegar on the weekend.
The team opened up play against the host SHSS Rockets on Friday. GFSS found themselves down 10-8 after one quarter, but promptly out-scored their hosts 15-1 in the second quarter to pull ahead and dominate the game. The final score saw the Wolves win 52-22.
“We had our traditional slow start,” said coach Craig Lindsay. “Once we got settled down and started working our press and rebounding we were fine. it was nice to see some well-balanced scoring.”
Leading that balanced scoring for GFSS were three girls with 10 points each: Alyssa Makortoff, Sarah Heric and Jessica Moen. Chloe Skerritt added eight. Heric picked up player of the game honours.
Next up for the Wolves were the top seeded team in the West Kootenay: the L.V. Rogers Bombers from Nelson.
Unfortunately, it was the Bombers that did the bombing as they crushed GFSS 53-27 led by 16 points from Allie Zondervan.
“They have a good team,” stated Lindsay. “They’ve got a lot of height and some really good athletes. We struggled with their zone press and their zone defence, both of which gave us fits.”
LV Rogers threw out an aggressive trapping zone that the Wolves’ guard struggled against. They also sat in a 2-3 zone that GFSS just could not penetrate.
“We’ll likely play them first in the zone play-offs,” said Lindsay. “So now we know what we can expect. It’s not going to be easy. They’re not going to get any shorter between now and then but if we can get past their initial trap on the press, we’ll at least have a chance.”
Makortoff was named GFSS player of the game after scoring six points.
Grand Forks ended the tournament with an easy 48-2 win over an out-matched Nakusp squad.
Alyssa Makortoff and Riley Steinbach led the team with 12 points each, while Alaina Condruk added seven.
Steinbach received the Wolves team MVP for the tournament for her continued strong play at both ends of the floor. Charity Starchuk was the player of the game against Nakusp.
“Riley stepped up and was able to play point guard as well as post when needed,” said Lindsay. “She has really improved her ball-handling and passing. She’s also able to fill in at other positions if need be. Starchuk also had a good game with some key steals and attempted charges taken.”
Lindsay also praised the overall strong play of Makortoff who led the team in scoring in each game and was also able to fill in at post. He also touted the senior leadership of Heric and Skerritt.
“It was great to be able to work on our zone offence against Nakusp,” he added. “We were able to skip the ball across the key and look inside to our posts. Something we really struggled to do against Nelson. If we can do that next time against them, and break their traps, we’ll have a chance to win.”
Lindsay admitted those are big ifs, but it’s something the team will definitely be working on in the week leading up to play-offs.
GFSS’s next action is on Tuesday, Feb. 25 when the team hosts a play-off qualifier with Midway and Castlegar. The winner of that play-day will qualify for the West Kootenay play-offs on Feb. 27 as the fourth seed.