The Maple Ridge Ramblers fell four points shy of a bronze medal at the B.C. senior girls Triple A basketball championships.
The Oak Bay Breakers edged the Ramblers 53-50 Saturday in the game deciding third and fourth at the provincial tournament, which ran from March 6 to 9 at the Langley Events Centre.
“Unfortunate to lose a game we controlled for 35 minutes but we just ran out of energy at the end,” Ramblers coach Don Herman said.
By the midway point of the third quarter, Maple Ridge Secondary’s senior girls had built a 16-point lead.
“It felt like we were getting some momentum,” Herman said.
But the emotional and physical weight of playing four games in as many days against the top teams in B.C. took a toll on the Ramblers.
“It reminded me a bit of those marathon runners whose legs turn to jelly. The mind is willing but there is nothing left in the tank,” Herman said. “It was like we hit a wall.”
Herman credited the Breakers who, he said, “easily could have packed it in but hung in there and pulled off a win in the final minute with a great comeback.”
Grade 12 forward Kolbie Orum led the Ramblers with 28 points while pulling in 11 defensive rebounds in a losing effort. Her teammate Devan Cousins added nine points.
The Ramblers finished the year with a 36-10 record, won the Fraser Valley championship, and placed fourth in B.C.
“I am really proud of the way we came out and battled after the disappointment of losing in the semis on Friday,” Herman said. “The girls gave it everything they had. Fourth place in B.C. and first place in the Fraser Valley is a great accomplishment for our team.”
Orum was named to the tournament’s first all-star team.
Bobcats 63, Ramblers 49
There would be no miracle comeback, no mammoth upset when the Ramblers and Bobcats renewed acquaintances Friday on the hard court in Langley.
The Brookswood girls seized the Ramblers by the throat early on and never let go en route to a 63-49 victory.
In the 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 final.
The ’Cats – the No. 2 ranked Triple A team in the province – avenged that loss in Friday’s B.C. semifinal.
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, 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.
“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.”
Now hopes for provincial bling is pinned on the local boys – the Pitt Meadows Marauders play in the provincials this week. They tip off against the Vancouver’s playing against Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Langley Events Centre.
Friday was a whole different ball game.
The ’Cats managed to neutralize 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 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Brookswood guard Jessie Brown recorded a game high 20 points to lead the ’Cats.
Ramblers 56, Handsworth Royals 52
The Ramblers assured themselves of a top-four finish with a gritty, four-point 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.
Ramblers 74, Prince George Polars 51.
The Ramblers had a very slow start to last Wednesday’s tournament opener against the 15th seeded Polars, and Herman said he knows why.
“The 10-day layoff between games was very apparent,” he said. “The effort was there for most parts of the game but our execution of plays was never really at the level we need to be at to progress in the tournament.”
Herman also thought the players’ conditioning was lacking as the game went on.
The key to win he said, was the contribution of Maple Ridge’s reserves.
“Lindsey Charron, Danica Severinski, and Kate Head came into the game and brought energy and defensive intensity,” Herman said.
Orum was MRSS’s statistical leader with 34 points and 16 rebounds.
Marchand had 14 points and four assists for the Ramblers.
Jane Grisley had nine points and three blocked shots.
“Prince George was a very good opponent and definitely deserved a much higher seeding than 15,” Herman said. “They were very athletic with good size to challenge our post players. They also made seven three-point shots which kept the score close until midway through the fourth quarter.”