A minor chink was put into the stellar seasons of the senior girls basketball teams from PGSS and Cedars Christian School by the Duchess Park Condors.
After three previous tries, the Condors were finally able to topple the PGSS Polars 60-58 with a last-second basket in overtime in Saturday's gold-medal final of the 2013 Northern Invitational senior girls 12-team tournament, hosted by PGSS and the College Heights Cougars.
The Polars (26-3) had to come from behind to force the overtime period and after taking a 58-57 lead they tried to kill the clock but the celebration started too soon. With three tenths of a second on the clock the Condors inbounded the ball and Cassie Rerick delivered a clutch shot from 10-feet behind the three-point line for the dramatic win.
Rerick finished with 24 points in the final while Issy Bourque led the Polars with 17. For the Polars it was their first loss of the season to a northern team. The previous weekend, PGSS dropped its first two games at a tournament in Kelowna.
The Condors' path to the gold was cleared when they were able to serve up a bit of revenge against the Cedars Eagles (20-4) in the semifinal. Earlier in the week the Eagles beat the Condors 59-48 in the City league semifinal. It was a reversal of fortune Saturday as the Condors cruised to a 70-49 win.
Eagles post Kayla Eby said it was obvious which team was hungrier for the win in the semifinal.
"I guess they wanted it really badly and good for them, they played hard," said Eby.
Cedars went on to win the bronze medal with a 90-74 win over the Nechako Valley Viqueens (Vanderhoof) with Kayla Gordon leading the way with 29 points. It was 42-38 for the Eagles at the half and after five minutes of the third quarter they had extended their lead to 61-42.
"Third quarters tend to be our favourite," said Eby. "We just play strong in them and take it to the hoop. It think we felt confident that we could win the game and we just had fun doing it."
The Eagles are the top-ranked single-A girls team in B.C. while the Polars are favoured to earn a northern berth in the triple-A girls provincial playoffs at the Langley Events Centre, March 6-9. Cedars will host the single-A championship the same weekend in Prince George.
The Eagles and Polars will face off tonight in the city final (6 p.m., Northern Sport Centre) with the boys final between Duchess Park and the D.P. Todd Trojans following at 8 p.m.
For Eby, not having to face the Polars in the tournament meant the Eagles could try to surprise their rival in the final.
"It's kind of nice we're not playing PGSS until Wednesday. It should be a good game," said the 17-year-old future UNBC education student.
After this weeks city final between the Polars and Eagles both teams have the next week to prepare for their respective zone championship. The Polars head to Dawson Creek for the triple-A zone playoff and the single-A Eagles will play in the 11-team double knockout zone playoff in Fort St. James. Zones are Feb. 21-23.