Kodiaks, Lightning off to B.C. championships

All season long, the Credo Christian Kodiaks have not gotten too far ahead of themselves.

“Our goal has always been to get to provincials,” said Kayla VanderHorst, the coach of the Kodiaks senior girls basketball team.

“But I am also a firm believer in taking things one step at a time.

“So our first goal was to gel as a team, then get to the top two in the Fraser Valleys, and eventually to get to provincials.”

And the Kodiaks have done that.

The team placed second at the Fraser Valley championships, and then won a one-game wild-card qualifier last week (Feb. 24), downing Richmond Christian 54-45 to advance to the B.C. Single-A provincial championships in Lumby.

The tournament runs March 5 to 8.

“Clinching that spot in provincials has been so amazing,” VanderHorst said.

“There was quite a bit of screaming and cheering after our wild-card win.”

At the Fraser Valley championships — which were held Feb. 20 to 22 at Chilliwack’s Unity Christian School — the Kodiaks fell 64-51 to the host team.

Credo had edged their local rivals, the Langley Christian Lightning, 46-44 in the semifinals.

The Lightning rebounded from that loss to defeat Agassiz 58-41 in the third-place game. It also earned Langley Christian a wild-card qualifier game of its own and they took care of business, defeating Osoyoos 53-43 on Feb. 25.

Sarah Kunst, who earned a Fraser Valley all-star award, led the Lightning with 18 points and eight steals.

Credo Christian’s Sarah Eenkhoorn also received all-star accolades.

The Kodiaks also qualified for provincials last year, but an opening round loss relegated them to the bottom half of the tournament and they wound up placing 11th.

“Now we are setting a new goal of a first round victory to get us in the top half of the tournament,” VanderHorst said.

“We’re hoping to improve on that rank (11th) this year.”

VanderHorst and her sister-in-law Ardis VanderHorst have coached this core group of players for three years, and this is their first time at the senior level.

“We had a bit of a rocky start to the season, but once it picked up, things went great,” VanderHorst said.

“We went into Fraser Valleys really strong and (we will) look to continue that upward trend in the provincials.

“One of the biggest strengths of this team is that we don’t have one player that’s a superstar, but a team of girls (who) all work really hard and work together well.

“We have quite a tall team, but we’re also quick, which is a huge advantage,” she added.

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