Despite having only six players, and later seven, the Grand Forks junior girls basketball team finished fourth at a nine-team tournament at Midway this past weekend.
The Wolves opened up play in the Battle of the Boundary against South Okanagan (Oliver) and despite having only six players won handily 24-14 led by eight points from Elizabeth Henne and six points from Victoria Henne.
“It was disappointing to have a few kids drop out of the tournament right before,” said coach Craig Lindsay. “But the six that showed up showed a lot of heart and really played well together. They were able to learn as they went and use the skills they’d been practicing.”
Lindsay said the juniors have played senior ball all season which is a big benefit. The juniors and seniors merged at the beginning of the season because of a lack of numbers but the coaches wanted the younger kids to have a chance to play kids their own age.
The Wolves next played on Friday against a Mount Sentinel (South Slocan) team that had beaten them by 20 two weeks earlier. GFSS proceeded to use pressure defence and aggressive rebounding to build up an 18-0 lead in the first quarter en route to a 38-18 win.
Alyssa Makortoff led GFSS with 16 points while Alexandra Henne added 12.
“The girls have showed so much improved over this month,” said Lindsay. “We also had a couple of forwards playing guard since we didn’t have our point guards. Victoria and Alyssa both did very well bringing up the ball against some pretty good pressure defence.”
After playing the 8pm game Friday night, the Wolves were back on the court early Saturday morning for the semi-final against Heritage Christian from Kelowna.
Heritage went up 7-0 early with some good shooting but GFSS fought back to go up 20-15 in the second quarter. Heritage was able to hold off the Wolves and won 36-28.
Elizabeth Henne led GFSS with seven points, while Oksana Stoochnoff added six.
GFSS lost the third place game 40-22 to a very aggressive Similkameen squad from Keremeos. The Sparks used pressure defence to get plenty of steals on their way to the win.
Makortoff led GFSS with seven points.
“We were a little tired after playing four games in two days with seven kids,” said Lindsay. “But that’s no excuse, Similkameen was very good, aggressive team. We struggled getting into our offence and getting good shots. But we didn’t settle down in the second half and played well. All in all a great weekend. I was afraid we’d have to cancel last minute and we ended up in the semi-finals. All the kids that showed up did great.”
The players will be practicing hard returning n to Midway on Feb. 6/7 for their senior girls’ tournament.