Head coach Chris Veale knew he had a top-five team and the Brookswood Bobcats proved him correct.
Of course, both the coach and the players were hoping to finish higher than that, but that is where they wound up when their season came to an end last weekend at the B.C. girls AAA provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre.
The ’Cats defeated the Riverside Rapids 83-75 in the fifth/sixth place game.
“We talked about what our goal was this season and where we felt that we fit in,” Veale said about his message to the team following an 87-56 loss to the Semiahmoo Totems in the quarter-final round. “All season, we felt that we were a top five team depending on how we played.
And the Totems proved to be a thorn in the ’Cats paw as Brookswood lost just eight games — compared to 29 victories — but three of the losses were at the hands of the Semiahmoo squad which finished fourth at provincials.
Brookswood had finished seventh at the Fraser Valley championships and needed to win a qualifier game just to make provincials for the 17th time in the last 18 years.
Seeded 13th, the Bobcats edged the No. 4 Oak Bay Breakers 85-80 in the round of 16 before losing to the Totems.
Veale said his message to the team was about responding when things don’t go as you want.
“Being able to enjoy success is about knowing what it’s like to lose,” he said. ‘This group of girls hates the feeling of losing as much as I do and I think that really showed in the final two games.
“I think they came out and worked harder and smarter than (they did in) the quarter-final game.”
Brookswood destroyed the Argyle Pipers 94-65 in their next game and then topped the Rapids to place fifth.
“Things might have ended differently if that fire had been lit a day earlier, but nonetheless, they did not let the Semiahmoo game end them,” he said.
Brookswood’s Jenna Dick was named a provincial second team all-star for her play.
Dick led her team in scoring all four games with an average of 28 points per game. That included 32 — and nine three-pointers — and 36 points in the final two games.
And the future looks promising for the ’Cats as the team returns the trio of Dick, Jenessa Knapp (16.5 points per game) and Neyha Lali (14.75 points per game) are all back next season.