Lightning ground Skyhawks in district final

Langley Christian Lightning
Langley Christian Lightning's Katelyn Mallette goes up for the shot against the Stafford Skyhawks in the Grade 8 girls district championship game at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 14. Mallette scored a game-high 11 points to lead the Lightning to a 37-23 victory.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

The Langley Christian Lightning continued their dominant season, capturing the Grade 8 girls Langley district basketball championship.

The Lightning scored the game's first six points and never looked back, defeating the H.D. Stafford Skyhawks 37-23 on Thursday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.

The victory marked the first time in 15 years that the Brookswood Bobcats were not keeping the championship trophy after Stafford knocked them off in the semifinals.

Brookswood did rebound to take third place over Walnut Grove.

In the championship final, Katelyn Mallette scored a game-high 11 points to pace the Lightning.

And the key to the win was teamwork, said coach Cynthia Wergeland.

"Our teamwork was important today because we had two injured starters," she said.

The pair still played but were not 100 per cent.

"The rest of the team stepped up and picked up the slack."

After the Lightning jumped ahead 6-0, the Skyhawks cut the lead to three points after one quarter. They extended the lead to 10 points at the half and then won by 14.

Langley Christian has lost just once all year, back at a tournament in December when they lost by two points to Abbotsford's W.A. Fraser.

In league play, the Lightning were 8-0 and out-scored the opposition an average of 45-11.  Three times, the opponent did not even reach double digits in points and the 23 points surrendered in the district final to Stafford, were the most against a Langley school in league play or the playoffs.

When Langley Christian and Stafford played earlier in the season, the Lightning won 40-20.

Wergeland said some of the credit for the team's success has to come from them playing together at the club level, with the Langley Hoopsters, under former Trinity Western women's coach Danielle Gardner.

"The key to success for us will be intensity and continuing to play as a team," Wergeland said.

Langley Christian, Stafford, Walnut Grove and Brookswood will all play at the 32-team Fraser Valley championships.

Langley Christian is seeded fourth and will host Agassiz on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Stafford is seeded 24th and faces No. 9 Elgin Park in their opening round match at Maple Ridge Secondary.

Walnut Grove (No. 27) plays No. 6 W.A. Fraser at Fraser while Brookswood (No. 31) plays No. 2 Burnsview at Pitt Meadows Secondary.

The teams who win their opening round game advance to the round of 16 on Feb. 21 with the final eight playing in the championship round in Agassiz on Feb. 22, 23 and 25.

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