In what has become an annual rite of spring, the Holy Cross Crusaders are heading to Kamloops in the first week of March.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Crusaders have advanced to the B.C. AA Senior Girls Basketball Championships, which tip off March 7 in the Interior city. The Crusaders holds down the third seed in the provincial draw after downing Catholic school rival Archbishop Carney Stars 52-33 in the Fraser Valley championship final last Saturday at Holy Cross.
The 21-point Crusaders win was an improvement on the Crusaders' 13-point margin of victory over the Stars in the B.C. Catholics final last month.
"When we won in the semifinals we knew for sure we were going to the B.C.s but we still wanted to win the final," said Holy Cross coach Steve Beauchamp. "We wanted to be the Fraser Valley champions, plus it helps us for the provincials because it gives us a better draw. Beating Carney again was also important because even though we beat them in the final of the Catholics, they were missing a key player for that game. This time they had everybody and were ready to go but our girls managed to get the job done."
Holy Cross opened the Fraser Valleys with a lopsided quarter-final win over Heritage Park followed by an 82-37 romp past G.W. Graham in the semifinal round.
The Valley finale featured a rematch between the two Catholic tournament finalists and while both teams showed the strains of playing under pressure early, Holy Cross guard Michelle Bos was in full flight right from the opening tip off. Bos jumpedstarted the Crusader attack with 28 points in the game en route to earning MVP honours.
"Michelle had a fantastic final game," Beauchamp said. "Early on in the first half when we were kind of struggling, at one point she had scored 18 of our first 25 points. She certainly rose to the occasion. We tend to look for mismatches against the teams we play and the girl they had on Michelle was smaller than her so we took advantage of that. She also hit a couple of threes in the first quarter that allowed our girls to settle down and focus on the game."
Rachael Beauchamp collected 14 points in the game and was selected to the tourney's first all-star team along with teammate Amy Sprangers. Michelle Zacharuk was named to the second all-star team.