The GW Graham Grizzlies looked for revenge and redemption in Saturday’s AA senior girls basketball provincial final.
Instead, they got a healthy dose of deja vu.
For the second straight year the South Kamloops Titans dashed championship dreams, downing the Grizzlies 70-43 at the Langley Events Centre.
Just like last year, South Kam superstar Maddy Gobeil earned MVP honours, getting the best of future University of the Fraser Valley teammate Deanna Tuchscherer.
Gobeil had 29 points.
In the final game of a spectacular high school hoops career, Tuchscherer was held to 14.
For the Grizzlies to beat the Titans, a third scoring option had to emerge behind the Tuchscherer sisters.
Aliza Dueck looked to be that person in the first quarter, scoring eight points. The senior guard drove to the hoop for two and drained a pair of three point bombs and GWG led 8-2 early.
But the Titans clawed their way back, tying the game at 13-13 after one quarter.
Tuchscherer started the second quarter hitting a free throw. The senior forward followed up taking a pass in the paint, spinning and sinking a five foot lob shot for two points. Kennedy Hall got into the act with a bucket and a free throw for three points, followed by a two-point basket as she posted up, got an entry pass and spun around a South Kam defender for a layup.
GWG led at that point, and things looked OK, but ice cold outside shooting conspired to limit the GWG offence.
The Grizzlies chucked up 10 attempts from three point land in the opening half and only made two. South Kam collapsed into the paint to deal with Deanna and sister Julia Tuchscherer, putting two or three defenders on them every time they touched the ball.
GW Graham wasn’t able to make them pay by hitting wide open outside shots.
After a quiet start, Gobeil started rolling late in the first half, hitting a huge pull-up shot to start a South Kam rally.
On their next possession she was fouled and hit both free throws to tie the game at 22-22. South Kam took their first lead in the final minute as Olivia Morgan-Cherchas took an inbounds pass and hit a spinning layup. A Kendra McDonald shot from the top of the key gave the Titans a 27-25 lead at the break.
Gobeil took over again early in the third quarter.
She hit two free throws followed by a jump shot and a layup in the paint and South Kam’s lead was extended to 33-27.
When the Grizzlies pushed back on buckets by Sydney Owens and Julia Tuchscherer, Gobeil responded by hitting a three pointer. When Dueck answered that with a three for GWG, Gobeil hit another one for a 39-32 South Kam lead.
A few possessions later she drove across the top the key and hit a running two pointer, making it 41-32.
It was pretty much over from there.
South Kam led 47-34 through three quarters and back to back threes from Gobeil and Fiona Brisco pushed the lead to 55-36 with eight minutes to play.
In a show of good sportsmanship, and hopefully things to come for UFV fans, Tuchscherer and Gobeil embraced in the final minute as the Titans counted down the seconds to their second straight title.
The final stats had GW Graham shooting 17 of 62 overall and three of 18 from beyond the arc. Deanna Tuchscherer led them with 14 points. Dueck had eight. Julia Tuchscherer, Kennedy Hall and Sydney Owens had six apiece and Julia led GWG in rebounds with 10.