Walnut Grove's Jessica Wisotzki was named a second team all-star at the Fraser Valley championships after helping the Gators senior girls basketball team finish in third place. The Gators now get ready for next week's B.C. 3A provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre.

Young Gators bronzed at Valley championships

Walnut Grove finishes in third place at Fraser Valley championships

At the start of the season, head coach Darren Rowell was not sure what to expect.

His Walnut Grove Gators senior girls basketball team — featuring six Grade 11s, four Grade 10s and no Grade 12 players — was young but talented.

As juniors, they had finished second last year at the B.C. provincial championships.

But this was a senior basketball team in the loaded Fraser Valley, including playing in the same division as perennial powerhouse Brookswood, Lord Tweedsmuir, Panorama Ridge and Sullivan Heights.

“I thought we had an outside chance to get to the B.C.’s but we were just looking to get better as a team and get used to senior basketball, just the competitiveness from junior. We really exceeded our expectations,” Rowell said.

“Our league was unbelievable but it really prepared us for the Fraser Valleys and hopefully the B.C.’s.”

The Gators won bronze at the Fraser Valley championships, losing 95-69 to Brookswood in the semifinals on Friday night before bouncing back with a 71-62 win over Panorama Ridge on Saturday night.

The championships were held at Brookswood Secondary and Walnut Grove entered as the third seed.

Rowell admitted he thought a top-three finish at Valleys was realistic, but he also knew missing the provincial championships altogether could happen.

Tavia Rowell and Jessica Wisotzki  were named second team all-stars.

And the coach was especially proud of how some of the other players have risen to the challenge as the season progressed.

“We have had a few people really step up and take on some unique roles,” he said.

“It has been neat to see some girls step up and fill some voids that we had.”

Jenna Stea has provided phenomenal defence, forcing other teams to alter their attack while Leah Fortin has developed into a rebounding and defensive specialist.

Rowell also credited Natalie Rathler for turning the bronze medal game around.

The Gators were down 20-14 after one quarter but after Rathler dove to the ground for a loose ball, the team’s energy level rose.

“She led the team in energy and the whole team started to play harder after that. That was the difference, defensive energy,” Rowell said.

Walnut Grove will now compete at next week’s B.C. provincial championships from March 1 to 4 at the Langley Events Centre.


Just Posted

UPDATE: ‘Fairy Godmother’ needs help to make prom night special for Langley grads

Charity collects donated dresses, suits, and accessories for grads who can’t afford them

UPDATE: Fire at Port Coquitlam rail yard under control

Evacuation order lifted, residents told to remain inside

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

B.C. man accused of impersonating an officer eludes capture

Arrest warrant still stands for Bryce Scott Telford

Bird count scheduled for Langley area

Volunteers collect data that is shared with the Metro Vancouver regional authority

Mom delivers plastic mats to Langley’s homeless

Jenifer Kosman fashions sleeping mats from plastic grocery bags

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Snowfall warnings for mountain passes

Lots of snow expected to fall today.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Protect your home and save: New sensor stops flooding in its tracks

BC-made system offers solution to damaging leaks from water tanks, dishwashers and more

Most Read