Hannah Pudlas played most of the gold-medal game of the 2013 B.C. Secondary Schools Senior Girls A Basketball championship like she was hanging on the edge of a steep cliff.
The 16-year-old third-year member of the Cedars Christian Eagles picked up four fouls in the first half but it didn't stop her from putting up 10 third-quarter points to get her team back into the game Saturday at the Northern Sport Centre with the Immaculata Mustangs. Unfortunately for Pudlas, the second-ranked Kelowna school readjusted their defensive play in the final quarter and with no wiggle room foul-wise she wasn't as effective down the stretch and the Eagles had to settle for their third consecutive silver medal after a 58-54 loss.
"I just played with nothing to lose," said Pudlas. "It's tough because I really wanted gold but it's still an accomplishment to get here. We've just got to keep remembering that."
Pudlas, who played with the senior Eagles when she was in Grade 8 when the team finished fourth at the provincial championship and returned to the senior team for last season's silver medal after spending a year in junior, said accepting the silver was hard this year because the Eagles were favoured to win as the top-ranked team.
"This one was closer so it was more in our reach, but it's tougher," said Pudlas.
The Eagles placed second in 2011 and 2012 as the Houston Christian Wildcats took gold.
Pudlas, along with her Grade 12 teammate Kayla Gordon, were honoured as first-team all-stars after the tournament. Gordon said she'll miss playing with her younger teammate.
"When she's on the floor and I have to be on there to I have a sense of peace," said Gordon. "She has that skill to bring up the ball well and make a good decision and that's what we need, someone to set up a play.
"She brings a calmness to our offence," added the 17-year-old. "When she's on the floor things just go well. I just love playing with her. It's going to be hard to not play with her."
Pudlas said the most difficult part in accepting the silver medal was knowing Gordon and Kayla Eby won't have another opportunity to go for gold.
"I wanted to win it for them really bad," she said. "They're just very headstrong and they don't get up and down or anything. They're just really consistent and you can just see their energy which helps you."
* Gordon said she'll also miss playing alongside her younger sister Melissa.
"It was so emotional when I went back into the change room and hugged her," said Gordon. "What a special experience to be able to play with her for two years. I loved every second of it. It's going to be hard to move away from her."