Swift victory for Rapids in Telus Classic senior girls’ final

Saturday, December 10, 2011 – Submitted by Cam Tucker, Vancouver Sun


Riverside Rapids versus Handsworth Royals #4 Elisa Homer during 2011 Telus Basketball Classic Girls Final at UBC War Memorial Gymn in Vancouver on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG

Play with purpose. That’s the mantra of the Riverside Rapids, and it’s exactly what they did Saturday night.

Whether it was knocking down three-pointers with seemingly relative ease and in quick succession or driving to the hoop with size and determination, the Rapids rolled to a convincing 70-53 win over the Handsworth Royals in the Telus Basketball Classic senior girl’s final at the UBC War Memorial Gym.

“We’re a little older and we’re a little better. That’s a young team and the lights are bright,” said Rapids head coach Paul Langford of the Royals.

“I remember when they were old and we were young so those things change a lot.”

Leading the rush was the Rapids’ Grade 12 forward Megan Sherwood. Blessed with a 5’11” frame, Sherwood proved to be unstoppable.

Not only did she show her ability to go to the basket and use her size and deft touch, but she also proved she can shoot the opposition into submission as well.

Case in point, when she knocked down a three-pointer in the first quarter, only to follow that up with a long jump shot that counted for two just minutes later.

“I seemed to be doing really well. I don’t know why,” said Sherwood, giving credit to her teammates for their lights out performance from the field.

“Everyone was just on fire today. Practice really paid off.”

But Sherwood was just one of a number of players who had big games for the Rapids of Port Coquitlam.

Grade 12 guards Laiken Cerenzie and Denise Spacek had a strong game offensively, and the latter was instrumental in shutting down the Royals’ big threat in Elisa Homer.

Those two, along with Natalie Carkner seemed to knock down almost every shot when it was from beyond the arc, which was a large reason why the Rapids streamed to victory.

But it didn’t matter who the characters were, the Rapids were in control early.

Despite losing Grade 11 guard Chelsey Sanchez to an injury in the first quarter – she seemed to land awkwardly on her left leg and was unable to put any pressure on it as she was helped off the court – the Rapids jumped out to a 14-4 lead less than six minutes into the game.

By halftime that lead expanded to 22 points.

And the relentless Rapids didn’t let up. Their defence gave the Royals nothing in the way of clean looks at the hoop, and their rebound game proved to be too much.

“I thought we played really well,” said Sherwood.

“We started moving the ball well and running the floor . . . I just think we were just a lot better now than at the beginning of the tournament.”