Rams’ girls’ team wins trip to Provincials

Win finals to go to provincials

The Ashcroft Secondary School girls basketball team overcame a huge deficit to defeat Kelowna Christian 68-64 in the Okanagan Valley finals and earn their way to the Provincials.Early in the game the girls fell behind 35-11 before they began clawing their way back into the game. By half time the score was 45-38, Kelowna. The fans were treated to the most fantastic comeback that I have witnessed in my entire career as a coach and fan of the game. These girls do not know the word quit.  It was a battle of epic proportions with several injuries on both sides.The second half began with the teams exchanging baskets and Kelowna desperately clinging to the lead, with Ashcroft edging ever closer and finally taking their first lead of the game early in the 4th quarter. Both teams refused to quit and the game was not decided until Shanna Paulos, sank two free throws with 5.3 seconds left giving Ashcroft a four point lead at 68-64.  That was the final score.I would like to commend all of the girls for their outstanding effort. I could not pinpoint any one player as a standout in this game. It was truly one of the greatest team efforts I have ever witnessed. In my mind every single girl out there was a star.The tournament opened Thursday (Feb. 24) afternoon with the girls defeating the Revelstoke Avalanche 71-55. I had to commend Revelstoke for keeping the game fairly close, because they only had seven players, but our girls definitely controlled the tempo of the game from the outset and the outcome was never in doubt. This led to a match-up with Immaculata from Kelowna on Friday evening.  Immaculata had beaten our girls in a controversial game earlier this year, by one point, and the girls were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to show them who the better team was. Ashcroft began the game as though they had been shot out of a gun, opening a 24 point lead in the first half. The game should have been over at that point, but foul trouble allowed Immaculata to make a run at getting back into the game, and while the outcome was never in doubt the final score 71-58 was much closer than it should have been.I would like to take this opportunity to recognize each of the girls representing our school and communities at the Provincial Championships this year. Grade 12s: Marlie Rittinger, Shanna Paulos, Ginelle Talarico, Miranda Smith, Chrissy Cumming, Megan Bohn, Keena Sandy, Kristie Dost and Chelsey Voght; Grade 11s: Jenny Beckett, Hannah Minnabarriet, Christina Hayes, and Anne Lim; Grade 10: Catalina Oitzl. Should you see any of these girls around the community, be sure to give them a big, well done, they certainly deserve it.Kelowna Christian, and Immaculata will also be advancing to the Provincials this year and if Charles Bloom Secondary from Lumby can defeat the 3rd seed from the Fraser Valley in a playoff game they will make the fourth team advancing from the Okanagan Zone. What an accomplishment. Other teams participating in the finals were, Similkameen (Keremeos), St. Ann’s (Kamloops), Revelstoke and Princeton.If you were not at the tournament, you missed some outstanding basketball. I believe that our girls have a very good chance of bringing home a Provincial Championship trophy from Sparwood next week. I certainly want to wish them the very best in their endeavor to not only represent us, but come home Provincial Single A Champions this year. Go Rams!!

Mike Baldwin