NDSS senior girls’ basketball won the Island championship for the first time in almost 30 years.
The Nanaimo District Islanders won the AAA Vancouver Island title on Saturday in their home gym and celebrated the first Island championship for NDSS senior girls in 29 years. Nanaimo District defeated the Royal Bay Ravens 62-61 in the final.
Glenn Johnson, co-coach of the Isles, said his team led by as many as 17 points before the opponents gained a hot hand.
“They kept hitting lots of threes and closed the gap so it got real close at the end,” he said. “Gutted it out is a good word for it. We just hung on and fought for everything till the last second and pulled it off.”
Johnson said the Islanders played with good pace offensively and stuck to the system defensively.
“We got some steals and some easy lay-ups,” he said. “The shots weren’t falling like they normally do, but they found a way to get enough points to win it.”
The coach said the Ravens had beaten the Islanders in a close Island final at the junior level, so this past weekend’s result was redemption. He said players were also aware how long it had been since NDSS won a senior AAA girls’ Island championship, and it was “pretty special” for them to be the ones to do it.
Sessaly Buck led NDSS with 23 points and Jayden Saywell and Erin Jensen scored 10 each. Buck was chosen tournament MVP, Jensen was Best Defensive Player, Saywell was a first-team all-star and Ava Johnson was a second-team all-star.
Provincial championships will be held at the Langley Events Centre starting Feb. 27, and Glenn Johnson said the top eight teams there are powerhouses and any wins against the best teams there would be unexpected.
“We’ll keep rolling with what’s been working for us. We’ve got to play our game no matter who we play,” the coach said. “So we’re just working on our systems and getting pumped up and ready to go.”