The D.P. Todd Trojans are poised for a jump in the B.C. rankings.
During a weekend senior girls basketball tournament in Kamloops, the Trojans handily beat two teams ahead of them on the provincial double-A list. To start, seventh-ranked D.P. Todd dumped fifth-ranked Vernon 74-58. Later, in the bronze-medal game, the Trojans took on sixth-ranked Sa-Hali and walked off the court as 79-61 victors.
The 12-team event was the Sabre-Titan Classic, co-hosted by Sa-Hali and South Kamloops secondary schools.
"We had an absolutely fantastic weekend," said Trojans coach Reid Roberts. "We went in with a goal to do exactly what we accomplished."
Against Vernon, the Trojans used a diverse offensive attack and stifling defence to secure the victory. Grade 11 forward Piper Hoekstra, with 18 points, led all Trojan shooters in scoring but D.P. Todd also got 17 points from Katlyn Roberts, 14 from Ashley McMillan and 11 from Danielle Steel. The Trojans' play when they didn't have the ball, however, made the real difference.
"(In games leading up to the tournament) I just didn't see that killer instinct in them, and prior to that first game, that was the challenge," coach Roberts said. "I said, 'I don't remember the last time I saw anyone hit the floor in a game after a loose ball.' That game, they were all over the place. I think every girl hit the floor two or three times."
In their middle game, the Trojans ran into the York House Tigers of Vancouver and found out why the Tigers are clear favourites to claim a provincial championship later this season. The top-ranked Tigers humbled the Trojans 92-34.
"(York House) is a private school and they get the best players from the Lower Mainland sent there, so you're already on an uneven playing field to begin with," Reid Roberts said. "They've got a strong junior program but they do a lot of the teaching of the fundamentals within their phys-ed program so this is a team that, when you play them, every mistake you make, they'll capitalize on. If you make any sort of mediocre pass, they're going to steal, and I knew that going in."
Coach Roberts used the game as a teaching tool. Katlyn Roberts -- no relation to the sideline boss -- managed to score 16 of her team's 34 points.
In the bronze-medal triumph, against a much taller Sa-Hali team, McMillan hit for 29 points, Hoekstra and Katlyn Roberts scored 15 each and Steel ended with 10. The Trojans actually started poorly but, after a timeout call, went on a 14-0 points run and never looked back.
"In the third quarter I think we got up to a 30-point lead," Reid Roberts said. "The girls were pressing and stealing and getting lay-ups."
Two other Prince George teams -- the PGSS Polars and Duchess Park Condors -- also competed at the tournament. They met in the consolation-side final and the Polars prevailed 63-44. In that game, Natalie Chappell scored a team-leading 13 points for PGSS and Nicole Schlick finished with 14 for Duchess.
In the championship final, York House held off third-ranked Clarence Fulton of Vernon for the victory.