Fleetwood Park Dragons repeated as Axe Division champions of Surrey Fire Fighters Association’s Goodwill Classic senior girls basketball tournament on Saturday (Jan. 7).
In overtime, the Dragons took down Holy Cross Crusaders in the top-tier tourney final at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary’s gym, by a score of 44-42.
Earlier in the day, North Surrey topped Tamanawis for the Ladder Division crown.
Last March, Fleetwood Park won the COVID-delayed 2022 Goodwill Classic championship when they beat Semiahmoo 68-45 for the Axe title.
This time around, the final game was much closer against Holy Cross.
“It was a very exciting game,” said Dragons co-coach Pam Reynolds, “and we knew that they’re very, very good shooters, and we were concerned about their three-point shots, so our game plan was to slow them down and stop the three-ball.”
The Dragons roster was filled with young players on Saturday.
“Playing tonight we had a Grade 8 (player), a Grade 9, two Grade 10s and only two Grade 12s on the court tonight, so the players are young and they learned a lot as they went along and I’m super proud of them because they’re very coachable,” Reynolds said post-game.
“I felt like if we were going to lose it would have been in regulation time,” she added, “but when it went to overtime my feeling was that we were going to win. The momentum had kind of swung back, we were feeling energized and we were good to go for the overtime.”
The Dragons’ top scorer in the final was Saavyn Mann, who was injured late in the game.
“She’s tough as nails,” Reynolds raved. “She came off for about 30 seconds but I knew she’d grind through it. She’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached, so I knew she’d push through, even if it was a broken leg.”
Started Jan. 3, the five-day, all-Surrey girls tournament involved Axe and Ladder division draws for a 21st year. Twenty teams battled for the two crowns of the city invitational, presented by Westland Insurance.
After the final game, tournament organizers with the firefighters gave bursaries to eight players involved in the tournament.
-with files from Anna Burns