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Underdog Chilliwack squad makes run to Grade 9 provincial basketball final

A small team of G.W. Graham girls beat three higher seeds before falling in the championship game
G.W. Graham’s Grade 9 girls basketball team went on a Cinderella run to the provincial final before finally bowing out. (submitted photo)

A Chilliwack team made a Cinderella run to the Grade 9 girls provincial championship game before finally bowing out.

G.W. Graham’s Grizzlies came into last weekend’s tournament as a wildcard entry, the 15th seed in a 16-team field. Normally, that would make them cannon fodder for one of the top seeds, but the team known as the ‘Feisty Six’ wasn’t having it. The Grizzlies opened Thursday (Feb. 23) with a game against No. 2 Steveston-London Secondary School (SLSS, from Richmond) and pulled off a major upset, winning 44-42 in overtime.

On day two they sent No. 7 seed Abbotsford Christian packing with a 42-32 triumph, and ended the season for another surprising squad, downing No. 14 seed Vancouver Tech 31-30 in a semi-final matchup that would have seemed highly unlikely pre-tournament.

Beset by injuries and foul trouble, G.W. Graham’s small roster couldn’t hold up in the final against Kelowna’s École KLO Middle School, the No. 4 seed. Coach Matt Holford said they played with heart, class and determination in a 89-29 loss.

“The Feisty 6 went on a run, playing the best basketball of the season and showed the basketball world that heart and guts can overcome almost anything,” the coach enthused. “For me personally, I have had the privilege of coaching my daughters for years, but this group of girls have left footprints on my heart. Upsetting three teams in a row and finishing second in the province is something I will never forget.”

Lily Tizzard was recognized as a first-team tournament all-star. Other members of the team are Maggie Epp, Amber Mercado, Puneet Litt, Emma Verrault and Alenka Havrda.

This year’s tourney was hosted by Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Secondary and Eagle Mountain Middle School.

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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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