There would be no heartbreak in the championship final this time around for the Langley Christian Lightning. A perennial powerhouse at the 1A level, the school made the decision to challenge itself at the 2A level, building a program which has consistently finished in the top five at the BC School Sports 2A Girls Basketball Provincial Tournament, taking bronze in 2019 and silver in 2020.
On Saturday afternoon at Langley Events Centre, in their fifth appearance at the 2A Tournament, the Lightning finally reached the long-awaited peak, rallying from six points down with 16 minutes to play to defeat West Vancouver’s Mulgrave Titans 70-60.
“It is very sweet. It has been a long road since we made the jump from Single-A to Double-A and there have been a lot of players who paved the way for this moment to happen. It doesn’t happen by chance, it is a lot of hard work by a lot of players,” said Lightning coach Danielle Gardner.
The game was a match-up of the top two seeds with Langley Christian ranked No. 1 and the Lightning needed a furious fourth-quarter to complete the comeback in an evenly-played game which saw Langley Christian lead for 17:53, Mulgrave on top for 17:13 and the score tied for 4:56.
Leading the comeback was a pair of Grade 10 players for Langley Christian, one on each end of the floor with Madden Dewitt delivering outstanding defence on the Titans’ Eva Ruse, while Colette Vanderhoven awoke on the offensive end.
Vanderhoven – who was named the Player of the Game for the final – scored 17 of her game-high 31 points in the second half to key the comeback, including three second-half three-pointers.
The day before, in the semi-final round, Vanderhoven had struggled from the field as she hit just two of her 15 field-goal attempts to finish with six points as the Lightning edged the St. Michaels University School Blue Jags 56-55.
“She just came out and lit it up. She doesn’t know any better yet, which is great; she is fearless which can help you or it can hurt you. For us, it helped us immensely, she was one of the big differences in the game,” Gardner marvelled about the guard.
In addition to Vanderhoven’s 31-point effort, it was a trio of Grade 12 players making their final game count as Laine Shelvey and Taelor Coxford scored 15 points and Sydney Bradshaw – who was named Most Valuable Player – had nine points. Shelvey also secured 17 rebounds as Langley Christian won the board-battle 47-35.
Mulgrave’s Eva Ruse led her team with 16 points, 22 rebounds and three blocked shots and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Jenna Talib led the Titans with 18 points while Ava Wilson scored 17 points and dished out five assists.
Junior Girls: https://youtu.be/oEw8DhRGxPA
2A Girls: https://youtu.be/RsQAIeL5hF0
3A Girls: https://youtu.be/zQpYjG6LZF8
4A Girls: https://youtu.be/cREGvrWjVYQ