Semiahmoo’s Deja Lee (centre) was named MVP of the Centennial Top 10 Shootout last weekend in Coquitlam. (Lauren Collins photo)

Shorthanded Totems edge Walnut Grove for Top Ten Shootout title

Semiahmoo senior girls team wins Centennial Secondary-hosted basketball tournament

Almost immediately, it’s noticeable that the celebratory photo posted on the Semiahmoo Secondary Instagram page – in which players, coaches and other supporters from the school’s senior girls basketball team pose with the Centennial Top Ten Shootout championship trophy – is a little sparse.

Among the handful of people in the frame, only seven of them are players in uniform.

The rest of the team didn’t simply miss a photo-op, either – the Totems were forced to play shorthanded due to players having to miss out due to exam preparation and injury.

For example, six-foot-four forward Faith Dut – the lone Grade 12 starter on the predominantly Grade 10 squad – was forced to the sidelines for both the semifinal and final tilt after suffering a concussion earlier in the tournament.

“It was definitely more minutes than some of our players were used to. Our whole season we’ve had eight, maybe nine players so we’ve been playing with a short bench all year – so they’re a little bit used to it,” Totems co-coach Lori Pajic said.

“But they’re not used to playing without Faith. Those were our first two games playing with Faith and we definitely felt a lot smaller without her on the court.”

• READ ALSO: Hall-of-fame hoops coach ‘just wants to help’

Low numbers aside, the Totems – currently ranked No. 1 in B.C. among triple-A senior squads despite being among the province’s youngest groups – managed to edge the field at the Top 10 tournament, which as one might expect from the tournament name, featured some of the area’s top teams.

In Saturday’s final, Semiahmoo defeated Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators by the narrowest of margins, 77-75, with the winning bucket coming from Izzy Forsyth as the clock ticked down in single digits.

Semi’s Izzy Forsyth led the charge offensively, with 26 points, while Deja Lee had 24. Walnut Grove’s Tavia Rowell led the Gators with 24.

In semifinal action, the Totems – who entered the Shootout after cruising to a first-place finish at the Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic one week earlier – defeated Brookswood 78-68. In that game, Emily Wubs and Forsyth had 18 points while Lee had 17.

Lee was named tournament MVP for the second consecutive week; she won the same award at the Fire Fighters tournament.

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