Wildcats girls win North Islands

Wellington Wildcats player Vicky Brown, front, battles for the ball with a Kwalikum Kondors opponent as Welly’s Julie Zhao is also in on the play Friday at North Islands at the Kwalikum Secondary School. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Wellington Wildcats player Vicky Brown, front, battles for the ball with a Kwalikum Kondors opponent as Welly’s Julie Zhao is also in on the play Friday at North Islands at the Kwalikum Secondary School.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The Wellington Wildcats won an all-Nanaimo matchup to claim the North Island championship and a favourable seeding at Islands.

Wellington’s senior AA girls’ basketball team defeated the Woodlands Eagles 55-28 in the tournament final on Saturday at Kwalikum Secondary School.

Vicky Brown scored a game-high 12 points to lead the ’Cats and Sara Simovic had 10. For the Eagles, Michelle Berti led the way with 11 points and Ksenia Malenica had 10.

Woodlands coach Carl Macdonald said his team had a rough start in the final.

“What I’m happy about is we regrouped and we focused ourselves and did not allow ourselves to be beaten by what was happening on the floor,” he said.

The coach credited the North Island champions’ all-around play.

“Wellington is a very strong team at every position,” Macdonald said. “They have many different weapons that can impact the game at a different time depending on what’s happening.”

In Friday’s semifinals, Wellington defeated the Kwalikum Kondors 75-23. Simovic scored 17 in that one with Brown contributing 14. Also Friday, Woodlands beat the Isfeld Ice 55-42. Margaret Edwardson scored 14 points, Malenica had 12 and Raechell Sywak scored 11.

The Nanaimo District Islanders senior AA girls also made it through the tournament, rallying after an opening-round loss to Kwalikum with wins over the Ballenas Whalers and Isfeld. In the victory over Ballenas, Leigh Richardson scored a game-high 12 points.

Locally, three of the city’s senior AA boys’ basketball teams competed at the North Island championships at Wellington Secondary School. The Ladysmith 49ers won, with Wellington placing fourth and Woodlands coming fifth.

Wellington was led by Brad Jenks, who was the top scorer for his team in all four of its games.

Woodlands’ finish means the team needed to win a play-in game against Gulf Islands on Monday in Ladysmith, but the Eagles were defeated 69-59 and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The Cedar Spartans have also been eliminated from the playoffs after an eighth-place result at North Islands.

The Dover Bay Dolphins senior AAA girls also competed at North Island playoffs on the weekend at a tournament at Port Alberni, placing second.

Dover started Friday with a 62-32 win over Cowichan, with Emily Shires scoring 15 points.

That advanced the Dolphins to Saturday’s final against host Alberni Armada. Dover fell 55-44 with McKenzie Nicks scoring 17 as the visitors trailed all game.

“We got it to four in the third quarter and you could just see that the tide had turned and I thought that we were going to win,” said Dale Nicks, the team’s coach.

But Alberni played tough D and Dover didn’t hit enough shots to win.

GAME ON … Dover’s senior AAA boys will be hosting North Islands starting Thursday (Feb. 24), though the Dolphins don’t play their first game until Friday night at 7 p.m. The Nanaimo District Islanders are looking to qualify for the tournament by beating Frances Kelsey tonight (Feb. 21) at 5 p.m. at the NDSS gym … Wellington’s school gym will host senior AA girls’ Island championships starting Thursday. The host Wildcats tip off the tourney against Brentwood at 2 p.m., with NDSS facing Lambrick Park at 3:45 p.m. and Woodlands playing Shawnigan Lake at 7:15 p.m. … The Cedar Spartans senior A girls host the Island championships.

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