Alberni girls want higher placing at next year’s AAA Islands

The Armada senior girls made the Island championships this year, but to win them they're going to have to work in the off season, head coach Greg Freethy said.

Armada guard Paige Hansen defends Dover Bay's Cassandra Knievel on day two of the AAA Island basketball championships. The Armada put up a fight but Dover won 57-53. The Armada's season is now over. Dover Bay advances to play the winner of Claremont-Stelly's on Saturday.

Their goal was to make the AAA senior girls’ Island basketball championships and they achieved it, Armada head coach Greg Freethy said of his team.

The Armada senior girls lost two games in the double knockout eight-team tournament last weekend, effectively ending their basketball season.

“The team played their hearts out and did everything that was asked of them,” Freethy said.

The Armada played Oak Bay in their first game on Friday.

The score was 26-26 at the half but foul trouble decimated the Armada and they were beaten 70-53.

Saturday’s game against Dover Bay was closer.

The Armada’s offence clicked and guards Kim Manna and Paige Hansen closed the store on Dover’s premier player Cassandra Knievel.

But Dover converted Armada fouls into 17 points.

And Alberni’s 25 turnovers also sealed their fate.

“The turnovers killed us,” Freethy said.

Dover beat Alberni by 19 points and 15 points respectively during the regular season, but by only two points during the championships.

“We’ve improved and we’re there,” Freethy said.

The Armada have to improve in key areas before next year if they want to crack the Island’s top three and advance to the provincial championship.

They have to ratchet up their defensive intensity and toughness. “If you watched the finals those teams take defense to a whole other level, and they do it without getting into foul trouble,” Freethy said.

The Armada have to eliminate their fouls, he said.

Southern players also develop through elementary school age feeder systems, a need that is being addressed locally through the girls’ Friday night league.

But southern teams also play in spring leagues and in summer tournaments in addition to playing high school basketball. “You can see it in the way they play,” Freethy said.

The Armada are going to have to practice and play in the off-season, something they’ve committed to do this year.

“The girls are playing in the women’s league this spring and we have a trip with some games planned this summer we’ll be practicing for,” Freethy said.

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