Red-hot Knights light it up in B.C. opener

It was a veritable light show for the St. Thomas More Collegiate Knights as they launched the B.C. senior girls 2-A basketball championships Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.

The No. 3-ranked team came out firing at the 16-team tournament, rocketing past the Nechako Valley ViQueens 104-28 in the opener.

With a stifling defence and a shoot-from-anywhere approach, the Knights feasted on their unranked rival, connecting on 48.1 per cent of their field goal attempts (40-for-76) and counting 57 points off turnovers.

Other than conceding the first bucket -- with the ViQueens holding the lead for just 1:01 in the game's opening minutes -- St. Thomas More were in complete control. Up 25-9 after one quarter, they maintained that pace to halftime, leading 45-16.

In the third frame, the Knights exploded for 41 points with a shooting clinic from everywhere, including knocking down seven of eight three-point attempts. They shot 75 per cent from the field, as well.

Bella Gaspar led the way with 32 points, including four-for-seven from three-point range, and corralled 11 steals and six rebounds. Cassiel Penalosa produced 18 points, 10 assists and six steals, while Gigi Gaspar also netted 18 points, going three-for-three from the arc.

Rylan Monks drained 15 points and was good on four-of-seven treys, while Tatiana Yau chipped in eight points and five steals.

Eight STM players got on the scoresheet.

Neckako got 18 points from Kallissa Brooks, as the Knights limited the Vanderhoof team to just 14.3 per cent from the field.

The Burnaby-based squad advances to today's quarter-final (8:15 p.m.) against longtime rival St. Thomas Aquinas, who bested Summerland 74-25 in their opening game. The winner moves on to Friday's semifinals, slated to start at 11:45 a.m. at the LEC.

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