After losing there first 10 games of the season by at 32 points or more, the Grand Forks senior girls basketball team showed gigantic improvement at the Castlegar tournament held on the weekend.
The tournament, which featured eight teams from throughout the Kootenays, ended up being played at J.L. Crowe in Trail after a fire at Stanley Humphries in Castlegar.
GFSS opened up against Selkirk Secondary from Kimberley. A team they had lost to by 50 just a week before at the Midway tournament. Right from the start, the girls from Grand Forks stepped it up and competed with the East Kootenay AA squad.
“Our defence was just amazing,” said coach Craig Lindsay. “The girls just seemed to get it right away. We took away any easy baskets. We didn’t give them any fast break opportunities. We were right in it the whole way. We just couldn’t make enough shots at the end. But to have a 45 point turn-around in one week is incredible any way you look at it.”
The final score was Kimberley 51 Grand Forks 46. Player of the game and top scorer for the Wolves was Alyssa Makortoff, who had 14 points. Victoria Henne added seven.
Next up, the Wolves played Boundary Central (BCSS) from Midway. GFSS had played BCSS, their closest neighbour, three times before and lost by 37 plus each time. This time around, the Wolves kept it close and were in the game the whole time once again before falling by just four points, 38-34.
“Once again, the turn-around from the week before where we lost to them by 40 points was astonishing,” said Lindsay. “We were able to take there size advantage by being tougher and stronger near the basket and not giving up. If we would have make a few more of our baskets near the hoop we could’ve won.”
Sara Horan was named player of the game for GFSS after scoring seven points and being a force inside.
“Sara is one of our key post players and grade 12 players,” said Lindsay. “She missed our game Friday at a concert so she really felt she needed to step it up. And step it up she did. She was able to battle with the tall, athletic Midway players all game, especially with our other top post (Elizabeth Henne) out with an ankle injury.”
Leading scorer for Grand Forks against Midway was Katrina Makortoff with 10 points, while Kristin Dorgelo and Alyssa Makortoff added seven each.
GFSS final game of the tournament was against Prince Charles (PCSS) of Creston for seventh place. The game was close the whole with neither team able to pull away.
PCSS was up 10-6 after the first quarter with some strong shooting. In the second quarter, GFSS got some steals and lay-ups to go up 23-18. Creston then put together an 8-0 run to go up 26-23 heading into the fourth quarter.
PCSS was up 38-36 with two minutes left. Grand Forks was able to tie the game up a basket from Alyssa Makortoff. After some solid defence, the Wolves had the ball with 17 seconds and a chance to take the lead. Victoria Henne was able to get the winning basket after rebounding a missed shot. Creston still had a chance to win or tie with about eight seconds left but the GFSS defence was solid once again and the Wolves secured the 40-38 win.
“We knew it was our best chance for our first win of the season,” said Lindsay. “But it was certainly not easy. The girls played really well. Everyone contributed. It was a great team win. I can’t believe how composed they were at the end. I think I was more nervous than the players. Especially when you consider we haven’t had any close games before this weekend it was phenomenal.”
Victoria Henne was named player of the game for GFSS. Katrina Makortoff led the team with 13 points, while Sara Horan added 10.
The Wolves host J.L. Crowe of Trail Monday at 5:15 at GFSS. Everyone is welcome to attend. The game will be broadcast live on GFTV.
Next weekend, GFSS travels to Nakusp for the Kootenay single A play-off championships.