They did something special.
When the Duchess Park Condors claimed bronze at the junior girls high school basketball provincial championship, they became the first team from the north central zone to finish in medal position in the recorded history of the tournament.
"The best [finish] that was recorded was a sixth-place one back in 1983 when I was in Grade 10 [at Duchess]," said Condors coach Louise Holmes. "And that was only an eight-team tournament so this was a huge accomplishment. We got lots of compliments from various coaches and various people that were watching. I think we made some noise and showed that we do have quality basketball up north."
This year's tournament was held in Langley and concluded on Saturday. At the 16-team gathering, the Condors played to a 3-1 record and, for bronze, beat the Riverside Rapids of Port Coquitlam 47-38.
Finishing on the podium at the junior provincials is so difficult because, unlike senior ball, there is no tiering system (single-A, double-A, triple-A). Instead, regardless of the size of a school, all teams are thrown into the same draw. In the senior girls basketball ranks, Duchess competes in the double-A category.
Saturday's bronze-medal game saw the Condors play to their strengths from start to finish.
"We were tough defensively, and [the Rapids] tried to press us and we handled their press really well," Holmes said. "We had balanced scoring too. We had several kids with four, six and eight points so that helped. And Riverside had a couple of big kids that we managed to keep under control."
The Condors entered provincials as the No. 3 seed so they matched their ranking. In their other games, they beat the host Brookswood Bobcats 50-23, downed the Kelowna Owls 40-36 and, in the semifinal round, lost 39-27 to the top-rated W.J. Mouat Hawks of Abbotsford. The Hawks went on to win gold thanks to a 41-29 decision against the St. Thomas More Knights of Burnaby in the final.
Two members of the Condors -- Grade 10 forward Riley Brennan and Grade 9 forward Madison Landry -- were chosen as tournament all-stars. Brennan landed on the first team while Landry made the second team.
The Condors are rounded out by Emily Holmes, Shanna Olsen, Kayla Auld, Addison Fawcett, Lydia Myatovic, Marcie Schlick, Nicola Erricson, Hallie Drezet and coach Al Erricson.
Against junior-level competition this season, the Condors finished with a 34-2 record. Their only losses were against the Hawks.