Riverside, Handsworth advance to rematch for girls Telus Classic title
Monday, December 12, 2011 – Submitted by Howard Tsumura, The Province
York House star Alisha Roberts (left) is defended by Handsworth guard Elisa Homer Friday during Telus semifinals at Churchill. (Ric Ernst, PNG)
It’s Riverside vs. Handsworth, two stories rivals, who are set to meet in Saturday’s Telus Basketball Classic championship final at UBC’s War Memorial Gym (5:30 p.m.)
You’ve got to be there to see it live, but if you can’t, it will also be broadcast on Sports Canada TV with play-by-play broadcaster Wilson Wong and analyst Howard Tsumura.
Here’s a look at Friday’s two semifinals:
RIVERSIDE 71 BRITANNIA 60
VANCOUVER — Laiken with the lefty.
There might not be a tougher player to stop in the B.C. senior girls basketball than the senior wing with Port Coquitlam’s Riverside Rapids.
Cerenzie, absolutely explosive off the dribble, scored a game-high 23 points in leading the Triple A No. 1 Rapids to a 71-60 win over the Double A No. 1 Britannia Bruins of Vancouver in the first of two Telus Basketball Classic semifinals at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary.
“She can be impossible to stop,” said Riverside coach Mike Carkner of Cerenzie, “because she has the ability to get to the left side even if teams try to take it away. She is so difficult to guard.”
Yet the Bruins were no easy out.
Trailing 68-50 with 4:42 remaining, last season’s B.C. Double A runners-up mounted a 10-3 game-closing run, as 6-foot-1 post Becky Fernandez dominated in the paint and finished with a team-high 14 points.
“We need more of that,” Carkner continued when reminded that the Bruins gave them a very healthy push throughout. “We don;t ever want to play down to teams, and they are a very good team.”
The Rapids are as well, but they’re also a different team this season, it’s crop of incoming Grade 11 talent giving them not only added length all over the floor, but added grit inside.
Megan Sherwood and Grade 11 Fiona Beales each scored 12 points for the winners while guard Michelle Spacek added seven.
Britannia guard and team captain Karen Li, perhaps the most unheralded girls player in the province, was outstanding for the Bruins, finishing with 10 points and a bushel of assists.
“We won the second half,” joked Britannia head coach Mike Evans. “Unfortunately they add halves together. But I think the idea that we hung around and came back has us in good stead for the next game.”
Although the Bruins were able to rally from 8-0 and 14-4 deficts, pulling to within 17-14 on centre Fernandez’s offensive putback with 1:57 remaining in the opening quarter, the Rapids burst in rapid-fire fashion to balloon their lead in the second quarter.
Over a span of 3:06, Riverside rolled up an 11-0 run on the Bruins to lead 37-20 late in the second quarter, six of those points coming off explosive drives to the basket by Cerenzie, who finished with 16 halftime points.
HANDSWORTH 84 YORK HOUSE 82
VANCOUVER — Someone forgot to tell Lizzy Hamlin she was supposed to be nervous.
The Handsworth Royals Grade 11 guard might have been the smallest player on the floor Friday afternoon when the North Vancouver school clashed with Vancouver’s York House Tigers in the semifinal round of the Telus Basketball Classic at Sir Winston Churchill.
Hamlin stepped up to the free throw line and sank five of six from the stripe in overtime, drawing contact with her gutsy inside play as the Royals rallied back from a 13-point third quarter deficit to upset the No. 3-ranked Tigers 84-82.
“Lizzy was money at the line,” said Handsworth head coach Scott Palmer. “That kid has come so far. Last year she would have been trembling to shoot those free throws.”
Hamlin’s made free throw with 4.2 seconds left in regulation had put the Royals on top 71-68, but a major gaffe was committed by a Handsworth player who fouled York House Alisha Roberts who was driving in for a basket as the clock wound down.
Roberts, who finished with a game-high 30 points, made the bucket to make it 71-70, then hit the ensuing free throw with no time left on the clock to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Roberts was her explosive self, and her driving layin with 1:47 remaining had put the Tigers on top 82-78.
From that stage, however, the Royals rose up defensively and somehow found a way to win.
Fighting for loose ball, Hamblin knocked down four straight free throws as part of Handsworth’s 6-0 game-closing run. She and teammate Elisa Homer hit one free throw each to put the game out of reach.
“This team has been amazing,” said Palmer, after his team rallied from 14 down on Thursday to win its quarterfinal against New Westminster. “We dig holes for ourselves but we never quit. These kids find a way to pull it out.”
Homer, the long and athletic Grade 11 guard, was outstanding throughout, scoring a team-high 25 points, including four treys. Senior wing Jamie Hills added 21 points, and point guard Abi Dixon 16 points.
Laura Baker had 15 in a losing cause for the Tigers while Cherub Lum added 13 and Mira Donaldson 11.