Same opponent, same home gym advantage, same victorious finale for the Britannia Bruins.
Sparks always fly for the senior girls basketball players known for their on-court chemistry and off-court friendships and who, on Friday, won their second consecutive city championship by defeating the Kitsilano Blue Demons 84-50.
And for the second year, Britannias Grade 11 shooting guard Jilliane ViÃ±a was named the tournaments most-valuable player. She grabbed the honours last year as a 15-year-old Grade 10 student.
Although outsized by a taller Kitsilano team, the Bruins grabbed an immediate edge with their speed and cohesion putting them ahead 19-10 after the opening frame.
Britannia coach Mike Evans crunched the numbers. The Bruins would win the city title if they didnt relinquish and continued to push their early advantage, he said.
The key thing for us was the last four minutes of the first quarter because suddenly we had a 10-point lead, Evans said. I said, Weve missed a bunch of shots, weve played well on defence, yet weve got a 10-point lead and four times 10 is 40.
A simple equation, really. I said, Just keep going, dont worry about the missed shots and the matter will take care of itself.
At the half, Britannia doubled their point spread to 21. By the final buzzer, they won by a 34-point margin.
Kitsilano head coach Joanna Vieira praised the two-time city champions, noting Britannias team intelligence and familiarity.
Theyre very quick, she said. They work very well together both on offence and defence, they read each other really well offensively. If one penetrates, they other one knows where to go to get open and defensively, they fight for everything, everyone goes after every single loose ball and they look to rebound. Theyre outsized and they still look to rebound. Its great, just great to see them work so hard and every year they keep getting better and better. Theyve got a great system.
The Bruins defeated Kitsilano 82-65 last year to win the title from the four-time consecutive Vancouver champion Blue Demons.
Since last year, Britannia saw only one Grade 12 player graduate. The rest of the young roster has travelled together to China and California.
Bruins Jennifer Carpio and Karen Li were named first-team all stars alongside Kitsilanos Andrea Strujic and Shonte Devernichuk and Hambers Rachel Wang.
B.C. crown beckons
The Britannia Bruins enter the AA Lower Mainland tournament as the No. 1 ranked school in B.C., followed by Lambrick Park and Holy Cross. The regional playoff comes in two weeks before provincials March 7 to 10 in Kamloops.
The Bruins defeated the York House Tigers at the zone tournament last year, but then lost when the two Vancouver teams met again in the provincial championship.
Since the Tigers went AAA this season (and are No. 3 in B.C.), the championship B.C. crown beckons again.
Hopefully we can do it, said coach Mike Evans. The Bruins lost recently to Holy Cross but beat Lambrick Park, who beat Holy Cross, he said. I dont know if it all goes back to the beginning, but those teams seem to be right with us.