The Walnut Grove Gators came up short in their quest to qualify for the Triple-A B.C. provincial basketball championships, but did pick up some hardware.
The Gators senior girls basketball team was recognized as the most sportsmanlike team of the 16-team tournament, which was won by Holy Cross over Brookswood in a thrilling final on Feb. 22 at the Langley Events Centre.
The Gators — predominantly made up of Grade 11 players — was seeded sixth for the tournament, but an opening round 55-34 loss to No. 11 Maple Ridge put them on the wrong side of the draw and they could not recover.
Walnut Grove did bounce back to win 76-37 over Chilliwack in their next game, but lost 82-66 to MEI in the double knockout format.
The Gators led for much of the first half, but MEI hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lead 43-42 at the break. Walnut Grove did regain the lead early in the third quarter, but MEI eventually pulled away.
Dallas Tilley led the way in her final game in a Walnut Grove uniform with 28 points.
MEI wound up fifth in the Fraser Valley while Maple Ridge was seventh.
“I was incredibly proud of the way they came together as a team,” said coach Scott Smithson.
“Despite the loss, we shared such a positive feeling of accomplishment.
“(And) being recognized with the most sportsmanlike award was well deserved. It was icing on the cake to a very strong season.”