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Semiahmoo junior girls basketball squad bring home winning banner

South Surrey’s Thunderbirds top team in the province after winning weekend tournament

The Semiahmoo Secondary junior girls basketball team has brought another banner home for their school’s gym after a triumphant weekend at the Junior Girls Basketball Invitational, where they were crowned provincial champions.

The tournament, hosted at Surrey’s Pacific Academy Feb. 23-25, featured top junior girls basketball teams from across the entire province, including the No. 1-ranked Thunderbirds, who had previously won the Surrey city championship as well as the South Fraser championships heading into the competition.

“The girls did a really good job of stepping up and playing as a team and playing to our strengths, and really just bringing that intensity,” said coach Tayla Jackson, who coaches the team with Simrit Bindra.

“We’re just bursting with pride for them! Our hearts are so full.”

Many from the junior Thunderbirds squad were also on the Grade 8 team that won provincials last year in an undefeated season, she noted.

READ ALSO: Semiahmoo Grade 8 girls win basketball provincials in undefeated season

Bindra said that this year, the junior team only had one loss – to GW Graham, the team they ended up besting 60-48 in a thrilling final on Sunday (Feb. 25).

“It was so electric! There were so many fans who came out to support us,” Bindra said, adding that so many friends and family members as well as peers turned out to cheer on the Thunderbirds, including the school’s senior boys basketball team.

The game was quite close at the beginning, with GW Graham even having a 5-0 lead at the beginning of the final game, before gaining a lead in the fourth quarter.

“It was neck-and-neck there, but the girls did a good job of rallying – we kind of took off for a bit in the fourth quarter and we got a little bit of a lead, and we were able to keep that going.”

The differences between Grade 8 basketball and junior level can take some time to adjust to, both coaches said, in competition and skill level.

“The jump from Grade 8 to junior is pretty big – there’s a lot more physicality at this level,” Bindra said.

They both said the win might take some time to really kick in for everyone.

“They were all on Cloud 9 last night! I don’t think it’s really clicked for most of us,” Jackson said.

The MVP of the Tournament award went to Jaida Claypool, and Player of the (final) Game was awarded to Mya Thompson, while Sonum Sran earned First Team All Star and Savanna Wong was named Second Team All Star.

Jackson said she and Bindra couldn’t be more proud.

“To have the opportunity to be able to work with such a skilled and hardworking group of just great girls – they are genuinely such a treat to work with – they all have such great heads on their shoulders, they’re all one of a kind,” she said.

“I’ve worked with a lot of different age groups and abilities and this group of girls is definitely really special. I couldn’t be more proud of them and all the things they’ve worked for and accomplished this season.”

Other Surrey secondary schools with teams that competed included Holy Cross, who finished third overall after Semiahmoo beat them in the semi-finals, Pacific Academy (finished 19th overall), North Delta’s Seaquam (21st) and Lord Tweedsmuir (22).

Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’m a lifelong writer, and worked as a journalist in community newspapers for more than a decade, from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey, from 2001-2012
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