Cowichan co-captains and tournament all-stars Jazmine Charles head back on defence after scoring against Stelly’s in their Island AAA championship opener. (Steven Heywood/Black Press)

Cowichan co-captains and tournament all-stars Jazmine Charles head back on defence after scoring against Stelly’s in their Island AAA championship opener. (Steven Heywood/Black Press)

T-Birds score big honours at Island AAA championships

Cowichan Secondary School's senior girls basketball team narrowly missed a chance to play at the provincial championship, but still walked away from the Island AAA championships with some impressive hardware.

Cowichan Secondary School’s senior girls basketball team narrowly missed a chance to play at the provincial championship, but still walked away from the Island AAA championships with some impressive hardware.

The Thunderbirds finished fourth in the Island tournament at Claremont, which wrapped up on Saturday. They were also named the Most Sportsmanlike Team, while co-captains Emma Dewit and Jazmine Charles were selected as all-stars.

The top two teams, Oak Bay and Claremont, advanced directly to provincials, while third-place Nanaimo District earned a chance at a wildcard berth by beating Cowichan in the battle for bronze.

“We are very proud of our girls for going 2-2 at Islands and finishing in the Final Four,” said Wendy Charles, who coached the T-Birds along with Val Chambers. “Last year we were excited to make it to Islands, and this year, coming away with two wins confirmed that we belong there, and are improving each season.”

Cowichan opened the tournament with a 43-36 win in a defensive battle with Stelly’s. Dewit poured in a game-high 25 points and Charles added 13, while Joelle Antufeaff had 13 rebounds and Julia Cutt had four blocks.

That set up a semifinal duel with Oak Bay, which Cowichan lost 76-30. Dewit again led the way with 18 points.

“We missed a lot in the offensive end, only scoring 9 nine points in the first half,” coach Charles said. “In the second half we scored 21 points to their 27, but it wasn’t enough to bring us back into the game.”

Dewit again scored 18 and Julianna McKinnon had 13 points and 14 rebounds as Cowichan beat Belmont 49-25 in the crossover draw to get into the third-place game.

For third, Cowichan had to play NDSS, who had defeated them 75-30 in the North Island final. The result was the same this time, although the 77-48 final score was significantly closer. Dewit once again led the way with 24 points, while Charles nailed four three-pointers on her way to 14 points. Cutt recorded another four blocks.

Dewit was named to the first all-star team, and Charles was named to the second team, and the entire team was recognized for fair play.

“This is an amazing group of girls and we could not be more proud,” Wendy Charles said. “All season they played with intensity and integrity, so it was nice to see them recognized not only for their basketball talents, but for their sincere character as well.”

Dewit is one of eight graduating girls from the 10-player roster, joined by Antufeaff, Cutt, Julianna and Amanda McKinnon, Erin Harris, Gabby Larminay and Hannah Geldenhuys, but Returning players Jazmine Charles and Kaylee Trent will be joined next year by several players from the Cowichan junior girls team, who have qualified for their provincial tournament.

Cowichan Valley Citizen