GW Graham basketball girls savour Fraser Valley championship

It’s been a long wait for the Grizzlies, who lost the FV title game the last two seasons.

A basketball journey nine years in the making culminated last weekend in GW Graham’s first ever Fraser Valley banner for the senior girls’ squad.

The Grizzlies bombed Langley Christian 71-40 in the championship match at Langley Christian, finally crashing through a wall that seemed unbreakable.

GWG lost the last two Fraser Valley title games, the prize always hanging just beyond their reach.

But after throttling the Rick Hansen Hurricanes and Pitt Meadows Marauders to make a third straight championship game, this group wasn’t to be denied.

Senior Sydney Fraess was still on the court for the last minute versus Langley Christian and remembers it vividly.

“I looked up and saw about 50 seconds left on the clock and suddenly felt a bit emotional, but also overcome with happiness,” she recalled. “We were up about 35 (points) and I couldn’t believe that we finally did it.

“We actually won the banner.”

When the final whistle blew, the Grizzlies rushed onto the court to mob each other in a giant huddle. Then, one by one, they took a turn helping to cut down the net — a tradition when basketball titles are won.

“I felt so proud of every single one of my teammates,” Fraess said. “Each person played a big role in getting us to this spot.

“The next morning I woke up and it still felt a little bit unreal. This has been our goal for three years, and finally in my senior year we got it.

“Everything that we worked for finally paid off.”

Sarah Mouritzen took over as coach of the senior girls nine years ago, inheriting a team that went 1-11 the year prior. The team’s first ever Fraser Valley playoff appearance was a 60 point loss to Mission.

But Mouritzen believes that all the lumps they took helped build a team that was resilient, focused and ready for this moment.

“The program and the girls needed to learn what it meant to practice and work like a championship basketball team,” she said. “It took time.”

Now the team is on to the next task because their season is not yet finished. GWG enters provincials with an even bigger prize in sight, the right to call themselves B.C.’s best.

“We haven’t been to provincials before with this team, but we expect some intense competition,” said Sydney Owens, a Grade 10 player who is experiencing all of this for the first time. “We will be playing with the best in B.C. and we expect it to be a great experience.”

Megan Owens, also in Grade 10 and Sydney’s twin sister, believes her team is good enough to stand toe-to-toe with anyone, and the lessons they’ve learned over the past days, months and years will serve them well in the pressure cooker that is provincials.

“We faced a lot of pressure (at Fraser Valleys), coming from both the fans and the opposing team, and we had to work through this and remain calm to execute plays,” she said. “Our team has learned to come together at difficult times, be positive on and off the court and be confident when we play.

“Our team expects to have a fun and exciting week, but also see fierce competition.”

Provincials are Feb. 28 to Mar. 3 at the Langley Events Centre.

Just Posted

WATCH: Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 in Chilliwack trying to flee police

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Drugs and guns seized by Chilliwack Mounties in complex case

Drug trafficking investigations led to five arrests in three different locations across Chilliwack

Chilliwack RCMP trying to catch robbery suspect

Police hope someone will identify the person who appears in security camera footage

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read