Playing in the championship game of the Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic for the fourth consecutive year, the Fleetwood Park Dragons and Holy Cross Crusaders needed overtime to determine the 2014 champion.
Unable to take a lead in 40 minutes of regulation time, the Dragons dominated extra time and emerged as champions of the all-Surrey high school girls basketball tournament with a 55-46 victory at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
“It’s a bit of a battle every year,” said Dragons co-coach Pam Reynolds, after her team claimed its second championship in the past four years. “We play really good defense and sometimes the offense comes out flat. This is the third game that we played overtime. Once we got to overtime, we relaxed, which is kind of odd.”
Playing before a crowd of roughly 200, the Crusaders led for all but the last two minutes of regulation time, scoring the first four points of the game while racing to an early 9-2 advantage. The lead was 21-18 at halftime, but grew to double digits at 34-24 with seven minutes to play before Fleetwood Park began their rally.
A 9-3 run by the Dragons pulled them to within four points, then when Jada Jordan hit a trey with four minutes to go, Fleetwood Park was within a bucket at 39-36.
Tournament MVP (Most Valuable Player) Cyrille Butac scored five consecutive points for the Dragons and with two minutes to go the scored was tied 41-41. Tournament Dream Team selections Maria Palmegiani of Holy Cross and Simran Grewal of the Dragons scored four points each in the final minute, sending the game into five minutes to extra time.
Fleetwood Park took their first lead, and seized control of the game, in the first two minutes of overtime. Grewal hit a bucket in the first minute, and then scored a three-pointer seconds later. The Crusaders were held to one point from the free throw line, then Butac put the game out of reach by dishing off to Grewal and Simi Lehal for easy layups.
Butac went nine-for-16 at the free throw line, finishing with 14 points. She did all her scoring in the second half after sitting out much of the first 20 minutes while in foul trouble.
“Kaitlyn Mackenzie played real well for us. Cyrille, at point guard, had four fouls in the first half so we had to sit her,” explained Reynolds. “Kaitlyn came off the bench and had nine (first-half) points. And she’s recovering from (mononucleosis) so it’s pretty amazing. She and Grewal played very good defense.”
Grewal was the top scorer for the winners with 20 points, and Palmegiani was the game’s high-scorer with 21 points. Both were Dream Team choices.
The Dragons had the easier road to the final, topping the Princess Margaret Lions 71-32 in a quarterfinal game then stopping the Elgin Park Orcas 62-46 in Friday night’s semifinal.
The Crusaders had to battle in each round. Then topped Southridge 62-46 in the in the quarterfinal, then outlasted the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 52-46 Friday night.
The Panthers defeated Elgin Park 54-45 in the third-place game Saturday. Abby Mitro with 13 points was the top scorer for Lord Tweedsmuir, with Lisa Tabor netting 12 for the Orcas.
In the Ladder Division, the Surrey Christian Falcons topped the Guildford Park Sabres 47-20. Jessica Miller-Ulmer, the division’s MVP, topped all scorers with 11 points. The North Surrey Spartans claimed third place with a 47-29 victory over the Enver Creek Cougars. Victoria Frienhofer led the Spartans with 13 points, with Dream Team selection Amina Gill scoring 16 for Enver Creek.
Other Dream Team members are Emily Pearson (Fraser Heights Firehawks), Ayan Deng (Guildford Park), Sonia Sharma (Frank Hurt Hornets), Pavleen Gill (Queen Elizabeth Royals), Georgia Paterson (Princess Margaret), Daughter Achan (Kwantlen Park Timberwolves), Tyler Ratcliffe (Earl Marriott Mariners), Emma Jonas (Lord Tweedsmuir), Desirae Villanueva (North Surrey), Katie Punia (Southridge Storm), Amanda Purssel (Semiahmoo Totems) and Devi Brauckmann (Elgin Park).
Claire Eccles of Elgin Park was the winner of the three-point shooting contest, with Hannah Morrison of Southridge earning the Best Defensive Player award.
Georgia Paterson of Princess Margaret received the Tessa Beauchamp Most Inspirational Player award.