Paige Young (centre) from Lord Tweedsmuir tries to pass the ball but is blocked by Semiahmoo players Tara Wallack (7) and Faith Dut (25) during the final game for the Surrey Fire Fighters Sr. Girls classic at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary on Saturday, Jan. 12. Semiahmoo beat Tweedsmuir 82-53. (Lauren Collins photo)

Totems pass ‘tests’ en route to Surrey Fire Fighters Classic victory

Semiahmoo senior girls team defeats Lord Tweedsmuir in final Saturday

The Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic championship trophy is staying in the south end of the city for another year, after the Semiahmoo Totems rolled through the competition en route to a second straight tournament title.

The Totems – who are the top-ranked triple-A senior girls team in the province – successfully defended their Axe Division crown Saturday at Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary with an 82-53 win over Tweedsmuir.

In semifinal action Friday, Semiahmoo defeated Earl Marriott 102-40, while Tweedsmuir advanced with an 87-55 win over the Panorama Ridge Thunder.

Panorama Ridge won the bronze-medal game.

For Semiahmoo – which won last year’s tournament, beating Tweedsmuir in the final – Saturday’s championship tilt was the most closely contested game they played all week. The South Surrey squad cruised through opening-round games over Clayton Heights and Holy Cross, winning each in lopsided fashion. In the Totems’ four total games – including the playoff rounds – their average margin of victory was 65 points.

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

However, despite what the scoreboard may say, the Totems looked at each game with an eye towards the season’s end goal – continuing to improve.

“The preliminary rounds, the early games, they’re good to fine-tune our offence and our defence,” said Totems co-coach Rob Wilson. “So even though maybe they’re lopsided, they’re still good to play, to get a chance to work on things.”

As one might expect, Wilson said the final two games of the tournament were the toughest.

“You get into those later rounds, and you play Earl Marriott and Tweedsmuir, and they play hard. They play hard defence and it’s a test for us,” he said.

Saturday’s final was the most challenging, he added.

“Tweedsmuir… they have some really talented players, both offensively and defensively, and they’re well-coached, too.”

As the team – and others in the city – eye the stretch run of league action as well as playoffs a few weeks down the road, Wilson said “every game is important,” no matter the outcome. For the Totems, they’re now gearing up for two more tournaments, including this weekend’s Top 10 Tournament at Burnaby’s Centennial Secondary, where they’ll face other top-10 teams from around B.C.

Semiahmoo’s Deja Lee was named the most valuable player of the Fire Fighters Classic Axe Division, while the MVP of the Ladder Division (consolation bracket) playoffs was Fleetwood Park’s Kierra Diggle. Fleetwood Park defeated L.A. Matheson for the Ladder title Saturday afternoon.

The tournament’s ‘Dream 15’ all-star team was Karina Sarai (Panorama Ridge), Sofia Kramer (Sullivan Heights), Sophia Fernandez (Enver Creek), Emily Mackenzie (Fleetwood Park), Payal Parti (Kwantlen Park), Sam Ogbeiwi (North Surrey), Arman Dulai (Panorama Ridge), India Aikins (Lord Tweedsmuir), Mia Santos (Salish), Talia Sireni (Earl Marriott), Izzy Forsyth (Semiahmoo), Vanessa Garcia (Holy Cross), Ashleen Grewal (L.A. Matheson), Sam Vidovic (Lord Tweedsmuir) and Tara Wallack (Semiahmoo).

Semiahmoo’s Faith Dut – the only Grade 12 player among the championship team’s starting five – was named the tournament’s best defensive player; Queen Elizabeth Secondary was named the most sportsmanlike team; Panorama Ridge’s Niika Atwal was named most inspirational player, and Marriott’s Sirena was the winner of the three-point contest.

RCMP Classic

With the senior girls’ Fire Fighter Classic wrapped up, Surrey hoops aficionados now turn their attention to the Surrey RCMP Classic, a weeklong tournament that features junior and senior boys basketball teams from across the city.

The tournament began Sunday, and continues throughout the week.

Playoff rounds hit the court at the end of the week, with the championship games of both the junior and senior divisions set for Saturday at Enver Creek Secondary (14505 84 Ave.).

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