There would be no miracle comeback, no mammoth upset when the Maple Ridge Ramblers and Brookswood Bobcats renewed acquaintances Friday on the Langley Events Centre’s hard court.
The Brookswood Secondary girls seized the Ramblers by the throat early on and never let go en route to a 63-49 victory.
In the very same gym two weeks earlier, the Ramblers erased a 12-point deficit in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter to stun the heavily favoured Bobcats 73-67 in the Fraser Valley Triple A girls basketball final.
The ’Cats – ranked second in the province among senior girls Triple A teams – avenged that loss in Friday’s B.C. semifinal.
The win put the Bobcats in the championship game against the defending B.C. titleholders South Kamloops Titans today (March 9) at the LEC. Opening tip-off is 4 p.m.
The Titans defeated the Oak Bay Breakers 58-32 in the other semifinal, held immediately after the Brookswood/Maple Ridge match-up.
The Ramblers went for a provincial bronze medal against the Breakers today at noon.
In Friday’s first semi, the ’Cats led 21-11 after the first quarter, 37-16 at the half and 50-25 after three quarters, then geared down somewhat during a final quarter in which the Ramblers outscored them 24-13.
The Ramblers had momentum going into the semifinal, coming off the aforementioned Fraser Valley title victory over the ’Cats and having beaten Prince George and Handsworth in their first two games at the provincials, which tipped off last Wednesday (March 6) at the LEC.A tenacious Bobcats squad proved to be too much for them Friday.
Ramblers head coach Don Herman said the Bobcats’ shooters were much more in the zone in the B.C. semifinal compared to the Fraser Valley title game.
“They [the Bobcats] shot the ball better tonight,” Herman said. “[In the Valley final] they didn’t hit those threes early so they lost a bit of confidence, and their two best players were in foul trouble so that helped a little bit, and we shot the ball better.”
Friday was a whole different ball game.
The ’Cats were able to neutralize Ramblers 6’3” star forward Kolbie Orum, who lit them up for 40 points in the Fraser Valley final.
Orum was limited to 13 points. She was held off the scoresheet during the second quarter and recorded one basket in the fourth stanza.
“They made some adjustments to take away Kolbie that they didn’t have the first time,” Herman said. “They tried to play us straight up the first time, which was a mistake.”
Ramblers players didn’t mask their emotions following the loss, but they still have a lot to be proud of, Herman said.
“Right now, the girls are really disappointed,” Herman said, a couple of minutes after the final buzzer. “We had a chance to get to the final but to finish top four with this group – we played most of the year with seven kids.”
Kirby Marchand scored 12 of her team high 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Brookswood guard Jessie Brown recorded a game high 23 points to lead the ’Cats.
The Ramblers assured themselves of a top-four finish with a gritty 56-52 win over B.C.’s No. 3 ranked team, the Handsworth Royals in Thursday’s provincial quarter-final.
Herman had one word to describe the Ramblers’ effort against Handsworth: “Awesome.”
“We never gave up,” he said.