The Alberni District Secondary School Armada senior girls basketball team won the North Island Championships for the first time in 25 years.
The Armada beat the Dover Bay Dolphins 55-44 to win first place at the North Island Championships in a Saturday afternoon game at ADSS. The win makes them the number one seed from the North Island at next week’s Island Championships in Victoria.
Forward Jami Oliver lead Armada scorers with 13 points while guard Danielle Lessard chipped in 11.
McKenzie Nicks and Emily Shires notched 17 and eight points respectively for Dover Bay.
“Our goal all year was to win the North Islands and we did it,” head coach Greg Freethy said. “We’ve got to crank it up to another level now because those South Island teams are all good.”
It was the Armada’s fourth meeting with Dover this season, with previous games won or lost by just 10 points.
On Saturday, ADSS lead in all four quarters. But Dover surged when Armada mainstay Danielle Lessard sat off with three fouls early in the third quarter.
The Dolphins smothered the Armada with a full court press, stifled fast break attempts, and caused several turnovers. Dover scored only two points before Lessard sat out the third then torched the Armada for 13 points to the Armada’s eight afterward to pull within striking distance at 37-33 but that’s as close as they got.
Lessard came back in the fourth quarter and helped the Armada re-establish a 10 point lead mid way through the quarter that they never relinquished.
Size was the main difference in the win. “They couldn’t match Jami, Nicole, Tia, Janine or Darion,” Freethy said. “When they adjusted it left our shooters open up top.”
The team needs consistent rebounding and to stick with the game plan when they play the juggernauts from the south next week.
“We got away from our offense and played that playground stuff,” Freethy said. “We need to stick with what got us here: patience, spacing and movement.”
The Armada junior girls squad meanwhile placed second at their North Island Championships, which were played at Mark Islfeld in Courtenay.
The Armada lost to the Ballenas Whalers in the first place game on Saturday.
The juniors are the No. 2 seed in the North and now advance to their Island championships, which are being played at Mark Isfeld next weekend.
Foul shots…The last year ADSS won the North Island Championships was in 1987 under then coach Jim Seredick.