Powerful Kimberley Senior Girls Basketball hold off challenge and win another Kootenay Tournament

All cylinders are firing for Selkirk’s Senior Girls basketball squad and Coach Jake Bowes says, “the engine is not a bulky diesel, it is a high revving Formula One power plant.”

“This year’s group, when out of uniform, don’t have the typical basketball look so with this lack of vertical length Selkirk relies on rpms,” Bowes said. “The ubiquitous high school sports coach, Jake Bowes has this spirited bunch using their athleticism! Speed, insight, positioning, passing, and in the case of their offensive fast break, converted layups. As potent as their fast break, perhaps more impressive is the front court press. It begins by luring teams into bad decisions and dangerous passes. They allow the first pass to come in easily but then the magic begins. Angles, anticipation and discipline, turnovers are forced, against ill prepared teams, 12-0, 14-0 runs are not uncommon and happen very quickly.”

The weekend of February 2 to 4, Selkirk hosted their own tournament; most teams have seen each other a couple times already this year.

“Fortunately, the Grand Forks Wolves, who we don’t see that often, brought their pack over the Salmo/Creston pass,” said Bowes. “The draw was set up perfectly as both teams marched to the finals through their own brackets. Two completely different teams were ready to do battle, the Selkirk zoom-zoom and Grand Forks boom-boom. Grand Forks hosts a tall, strong team, led by the Henne Triplets, and by a host of other very capable ballers. Two different Goliaths, ready to do battle.”

Selkirk’s starters, Bowes adds, featuring sisters of their own Sierra and Aspen Cooper, along with Zoe Marina, Juleanne Irman and Eilish Cox were ready for the final game tip.

“The first quarter was no surprise, low scoring, missed chances on both sides. The score, 12-7 after 10 minutes for the Selkirk Storm. More importantly though, the eight fouls committed by the Wolves. Four of Selkirk’s 12 points came from the line as Sierra Cooper refused to miss her free throw chances,” Bowes explained. “Another key fact was that five of the eight fouls were taken by the two tall Henne sisters, forcing the powerful West Kootenay girls to temper their aggression. The second quarter was typical high-end ball, each team took a run. Grand Forks going on an early 10-2 run and taking the lead. The Storm not to be outdone, dropped dimes everywhere and ended the first half with an impressive 10-0 run of their own.”

The buzz inside the old Selkirk gym continued throughout the halftime break. Bowes says it was nice to have a few Grand Forks supporters in the crowd, “but there was no mistaking the full house was pro-Kimberley.”

The third quarter was more of the same, as Selkirk’s bench was strong. Coach Bowes says he is clear that he has nine starters and their bench was their strength.

“This was apparent as pieces came in and out with no loss of flow or synergy. Doubly important as the Storm had lost their post, Zoe Marina with an apparent leg injury and did not see action in the final 3 quarters,” Bowes said. “Jayden Gould played hard-nosed defense, Ava Kile came off the bench and added eight points and a strong presence down low. Madison Amy was everywhere on the floor adding offense when needed and Lisa duToit impressed with her boxing out on both offensive and defensive boards. The final quarter, was awesome basketball. The Grand Forks power game started attacking again, a 20-6 run for the guest team had them up by 3 with 4 minutes left in the game. It was time for Kimberley to crank up ‘Nellie Ball’ pressing and fast breaking at the speed of light. They played with no panic in their game, perhaps lessons learned at the Single A Provincial Championships they attended last year. Or maybe it is the fact that Selkirk’s roster is made up of all honour students. [I] always challenges the girls cerebral game and is confident that the girls can quickly adjust to any situation.”

Selkirk finished the game on an 11-2 run, Bowes says, forcing their opponents into mistakes and taking the final game of the tournament 56-50. Eilish Cox and Juleanne Irmen finished the game with nine points each. Aspen Cooper had eight and her older sister Sierra had a game high: 18.

“The girls from Grand Forks must be commended on their effort and sportsmanship. The coach and all the girls earned everyone’s respect,” said Bowes. “This finish helps the Storm solidify their position as Kootenay AA favourites this year.”

The girls are headed to Alberta February 9th and 10th to see some bigger schools. Coach Bowes is hoping to see some full court presses put on them, before they come back to Kimberley on the 16th and 17th for the Zone Championships.

[With files from Jeff Chlopan].

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