Walnut Grove Gators’ Jessica Wisotzki earned second team all-star honours over the weekend at the Fraser Valley championships. Gary Ahuja Langley Times file photo

Gators fall to Panthers in Valley final

Walnut Grove seeded third for next week’s provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre

An early 10-point deficit proved too much to overcome for the Walnut Grove Gators.

“Every time we made a little run, they would respond,” said Walnut Grove coach Darren Rowell. “We just weren’t able to close it.”

The Gators, seeded No. 1, were facing the No. 2 Abbotsford Panthers, in Saturday’s Fraser Valley senior girls AAA championship game.

It was played at Abbotsford Secondary.

The disappointing thing from Rowell’s perspective was the fact he felt his team was coming off one of their best games of the year, a 77-47 win over No. 4 Semiahmoo in the Fraser Valley semifinals.

“And we felt were ready for the challenge of Abbotsford but we just didn’t play very well,” Rowell said.

The Panthers played a physical and Walnut Grove wasn’t able to adapt.

“That changed the way we wanted to play and we didn’t respond very well,” he said.

It was the second time the two teams played this year with the Gators winning in the finals of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational back in December.

In the opening round of the Fraser Valleys, Walnut Grove thumped No. 16 Charles Best 95-38 and beat No. 8 Yale 84-56 in the quarter-finals.

Walnut Grove is 29-2 on the season and just like the team’s other loss — a setback in league play to Lord Tweedsmuir — Rowell is sure the team can use this as a learning experience.

“We had a loss a few weeks ago that really helped focus us going into the Fraser Valleys and showed us some things we needed to work on. And I think this loss to Abby showed us some other things that we need to focus on prior to B.C.’s,” Rowell said.

Rowell said at the start of the year his team would have been thrilled with a second-place showing at Fraser Valleys.

“At this point, we see ourselves being able to compete with any team in the province,” he said. “To not compete the way you want is always a disappointment but we are looking forward to provincials.”

The Gators are seeded third for next week’s B.C. provincial championships (Feb. 28 to March 3) at the Langley Events Centre and they face the Mount Baker Wild in the opening round.

Tavia Rowell and Natalie Rathler earned first team all-star awards for Walnut Grove while the Gators’ Jessica Wisotzki was a second team pick.

The Brookswood Bobcats were also competing at the Fraser Valleys, with the team finishing seventh. The ’Cats did win a wild-card qualifying game on Feb. 20, 71-37 over Handsworth to qualify for provincials.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Natalie Rathler and the Walnut Grove Gators are seeded third for next week’s B.C. senior girls AAA provincial championships. Rathler was named a first team all-star. Gary Ahuja Langley Times file photo

Tavia Rowell and the Walnut Grove Gators finished second over the weekend at the Fraser Valley championships with Rowell earning first team all-star honours. Gary Ahuja Langley Times file photo

Just Posted

Nominations wanted for Langley moms in need

The Mama Coach launched the 2nd annual Christmas for Mamas Giveback campaign.

Concert Series coming to Langley Community Music School

The Concerts Café Classico is returning to LCMS starting with a saxophone quartet on Oct. 28.

Sleep out aims to help homeless youth

Joseph Richard Group is fundraising for an annual sleep out to help youth get off the streets

Vaudeville keeps senior actors young, active

The Vaudevillians ready to storm the stage with ‘As Time Goes By’

Free ‘hoops’ fun brings Aldergrove youths together

Aldergrove Basketball Club revives the sport at Aldergrove Secondary

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of Monica Jack

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Bernardo-like sexual deviancy poorly understood, expert says

What exactly causes such deviance is not known but some evidence exists of physical brain damage to the front part of the brain

Disney on Ice returns to Vancouver with Moana in starring role

Eight shows at Pacific Coliseum in late November

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Former B.C. cop sentenced to jail ‘in the community’ after caught in Creep Catchers sting

Dario Devic pleaded guilty after getting caught up in Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index in September was up 2.2 per cent from a year ago compared with a year-over-year increase of 2.8 per cent in August

Most Read