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Six in a row for Crusaders

Holy Cross claims Fraser Valley basketball championship
Naomi Vinluan of the Holy Cross Crusaders was a first-team all-star at the Fraser Valley Championship tournament.

Their sixth consecutive Fraser Valley championship might be their most unlikely.

The Holy Cross Crusaders won the Senior AA girls high school Fraser Valley championship Saturday night in Chilliwack, defeating the G.W. Graham Grizzlies 58-44 in the final.

The top three teams at the eight-team playoff, staged at G.W. Graham Secondary in Chilliwack, qualified for the provincial championship tournament next week in Langley.

“We thought we would qualify, but weren’t so sure we could win (at the Fraser Valley tournament),” said Crusaders coach Steve Beauchamp. “Our team has a different makeup this year. We have some dedicated players, and others are good athletes who also play other sports.

“We didn’t know how we would gel, but once we got on the court, the girls executed a game plan very well.”

Maria Palmegiani of the Crusaders was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while teammates Naomi Vinluan and Julia Babic were first-team all-star selections.

The Crusaders rolled past the Burnsview Griffins 72-37 in the quarterfinal round, then thumped there Archbishop Carney Stars 69-35 in a semifinal game.

Holy Cross will be at the B.C. Championship Tournament March 2-5 at the Langley Events Centre.

The Southridge Storm placed fourth in the eight-team Fraser Valley Championship Tournament, winning two of four games.

Paced by second-team all-star Emily Schenk, the Storm started with a 55-36 win over the Pitt Meadows Marauders, but then lost to G.W. Graham 61-39. Southridge recovered to top Burnsview 72-22, but lost 54-48 in a rematch with Pitt Meadows to bring their season to an end.

The Griffins were eliminated from the tournament in three games. After their loss to the Crusaders, Burnsview defeated the Rick Hansen Hurricanes 59-48 before losing to Southridge.

Jessica Klein of Burnsview was a second-team all-star.

* The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers took second place in the Senior AAA Fraser Valley tournament in Coquitlam. The Surrey school lost 83-52 to the Brookswood Bobcats in the championship game played Saturday night at Riverside Secondary.

Maryn Budiman of the Panthers was a first-team all-star, with teammates Emma Jonas and Ali Norris earning a second-team selection.

Tweedsmuir was the third-seed among the 16 teams seeking a Fraser Valley title or a berth to the B.C. Championships, and began their tournament with a 79-59 victory over the 14th-seed Sardis Falcons. They then edged the W.J. Mouat Hawks 63-62, and got past the Abbotsford Panthers 81-78 in last Friday’s semifinal round.

Tweedsmuir will be at the B.C. Championships in Langley.

After losing their first game of the tournament 83-79 to the 12th-ranked Centennial Centaurs, the fifth-seed Panorama Ridge Thunder won four in a row to place seventh.

Panorama Ridge, 87-73 losers to Lord Tweedsmuir in the final of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Goodwill Classic last month, closed out their four-game win streak with a 67-37 victory over the Heritage Woods Kodiaks. Sav Dhaliwal of the Thunder was selected to the second all-star team.