The Duchess Park Condors won another tournament at the expense of a provincial rival.
The local junior girls basketball team earned a gritty victory against the St. Thomas More Knights in Saturday's championship game of the Immaculata Sweet 16 in Kelowna. The Condors, seeded fourth in B.C., edged the fifth-ranked Knights 34-32 in a defensive battle.
In the game, the Burnaby-based Knights drained a pair of late three-pointers to pull themselves into a 32-32 tie. But, with 10 seconds left on the clock, Marcie Schlick of the Condors fought for a loose ball after a Duchess Park miss and scored what proved to be the winning points. On their last possession, the Knights -- who were blessed with skilled backcourt players -- failed to get a good shot away.
"It was exciting," said Condors coach Louise Holmes. "It was a great atmosphere and great for our kids to have to play in that kind of atmosphere and that kind of pressure.
"They worked hard and did what we asked them to do defensively," Holmes added. "When you're coming up against a team that has strong guards you've got to back off a little bit and contain them defensively and we did that. And we had a height advantage so we tried to take advantage of that as much as possible."
In late January, the Condors clinched a title in Kamloops when they knocked off the Mount Baker Wild of Cranbrook 40-38 in a tournament final. Duchess went into that contest ranked sixth in the province and Mount Baker was fifth at the time.
At Immaculata, the Condors downed the seventh-ranked Kelowna Owls 55-51 in the semifinal round. Duchess Park started the tournament with an 81-19 win against the Thomas Haney Thunder of Maple Ridge and then topped the host Immaculata Mustangs 55-38.
The most valuable player award went to Grade 9 Duchess Park forward Madison Landry. Emily Holmes, a Grade 10 point guard for the Condors, was recognized as an all-star.
Even though they are in the junior division, the Condors will compete in a College Heights/PGSS senior tournament this weekend. Games will be played at both schools, with College Heights as the host.
On the Feb. 15-16 weekend, the Condors will take to the floor at Kelly Road for the junior girls districts. Zones -- which will send two teams to provincials -- will be the following weekend at Duchess Park.
This year's provincial championship tournament is March 6-9 in Langley.