Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball compete in the North Island championships at Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo Feb. 7–9. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alberni Armada girls a surprise contender at Vancouver Island high school basketball championships

The Alberni Armada senior girls’ basketball team is going somewhere they never predicted they would be at the beginning of their season: the Vancouver Island high school championships.

“We weren’t really expecting to go,” coach Ryan Broekhuizen said. “It’s been an interesting season for sure. Now I have a really excited group of girls going down to Victoria.”

The senior girls played in the North Island championships Feb. 7–9 at Wellington Secondary in Nanaimo. They beat Carihi High from Campbell River 49–45 in their first game. It was a turnaround from the previous time they met, when Carihi won by 18 points, Broekhuizen said.

The Armada were up 12–10 after one quarter and 24–23 at halftime. They were still ahead by two points after three quarters. Abby Broekhuizen and Memphis Dick, both point guards for the Armada, were having a solid game: Broekhuizen scored 28 points and Dick assisted on at least 10 of those baskets. Late in the game though, Dick rolled an ankle and was out for the rest of the weekend.

“Without her great play Thursday before the injury, we wouldn’t be going to the Islands,” Abby Broekhuizen said about her teammate.

The Armada were in tough in their second game against Ballenas, which they lost 53–34. Ballenas’ MVP at Totem 64 last month in Port Alberni—Abigail Becker—scored 15 of Ballenas’ 17 points in the first quarter, dominating the Armada from the get-go.

That put Alberni into a must-win game at 9 a.m. on Saturday, during a snowstorm. Because of questionable road conditions and injuries, only seven players made it back to Nanaimo for the Armada’s game vs. Kwalikum Secondary. “It was a close game for most of the game,” Ryan Broekhuizen said. The Armada led by one point at halftime.

“Abby Broekhuizen was being double-teamed. They were doing a ‘box and one’ against her…they were literally in her back pocket for the whole game. She still had 13 points.”

The best part about that strategy was it gave other players on the Armada the opportunity to step up, he said. Raegan Dudoward had four critical three-pointers for a total of 14 points, and Abbie Dods had six points as the shortened Armada bench beat Kwalikum 49–45.

“Without them it would have been really tough,” coach Broekhuizen said. It also gave Grade 12 players Abby Broekhuizen and Catherine Joe-Thomas a chance to extend their final high school hoop season.

The Armada played Wellington in the game for third and fourth place. They were up 9–7 in the first quarter, but Wellington had 12 players to Alberni’s seven and they cycled their players to keep them fresh. “We just ran out of steam,” Broekhuizen said.

The Armada lost 51–37 to place fourth, but they earned a berth in the Islands in Victoria Feb. 14–16.

Just as the trip to the Islands wasn’t easy for the squad, their first game won’t be either: they face No. 1-seeded St. Michael’s University in their first game at Lambrick Park Secondary tonight (Feb. 14). Tip-off is 7:15 p.m.

Broekhuizen said it’s doubtful that Dick will start the game, but she’ll be in Victoria with the team “no matter what, to help support us.”

THREE-POINTERS…Because their trip to Victoria for the Island championships was so unexpected, coach Broekhuizen said the team is grateful for some last-minute sponsorships from Nicklin Waste Disposal and Coastal Bridge and Construction Ltd. “Without them it would have been a really hard trip to make.”…Go online to www.albernivalleynews.com for coverage of the Island championships.




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The 2018-19 senior girls’ Armada basketball team is heading to the Island Championships—a place they never thought they would be when their season first began. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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