Champs for a third time

Jess Franz of the Elgin Park Orcas is checked by Fleetwood Park Dragon Harleen Sidhu during the final of the Surrey Firefighters Goodwill Classic. Both players were named to the tournament Dream Team, but Franz’ Orcas won the title with a 70-29 win. - PHOTO CREDIT
Jess Franz of the Elgin Park Orcas is checked by Fleetwood Park Dragon Harleen Sidhu during the final of the Surrey Firefighters Goodwill Classic. Both players were named to the tournament Dream Team, but Franz’ Orcas won the title with a 70-29 win.
— image credit: PHOTO CREDIT

Make it three in a row for the Elgin Park Orcas at the Surrey Firefighters Goodwill Classic.

The senior girls basketball team took home their third consecutive championship Saturday afternoon, dousing the Fleetwood Park Dragons 70-29 in the finals of the Axe division – which featured Surrey’s top teams.

The ladder division consisted of lower-tier squads.

“It was good to win it for the third time. I wasn’t here for the first one, but last year was great and this year was even better,” Elgin Park forward Kendra Asleson said.

Asleson led the Orcas’ charge with 20 points, while Sarah Allison and Jess Franz chipped in with 13 and 12, respectively. Tournament MVP Elle Kerfoot, who’s headed to the NCAA’s Seattle University next fall, had eight points in the lopsided final, and for most of the contest seemed content to feed the rock to her teammates.

Such a balanced offensive attack worked wonders for Elgin Park, and caused trouble for Fleetwood, who only had University of Nebraska-bound Harleen Sidhu in double figures.

“All seven of our girls can score, I know they can. Typically, when we score, we do it by committee, versus just being one player,” Orcas head coach Stu Graham said.

“I felt that we would win if we played the right way, and the girls basically did what they needed to do, which was come out and play hard.”

Though she didn’t light up the scoreboard Saturday afternoon, Graham was impressed with the work of Kerfoot, his senior point guard.

“She runs the show. She runs our offence well and she had a good tournament – she always does,” he said.

Stopping Sidhu – who finished with 12 points – was the key to the game, Graham said.

“As Harleen goes, Fleetwood Park goes. If you don’t stop her, you don’t stop the whole team. She is their engine, their gas, the whole works.”

Asleson was given the unenviable task of guarding the 6’2” Sidhu for much of the contest, with the rest of the team helping out with double-teams when necessary.

“We didn’t do anything too differently than usual, but we obviously had to focus on Harleen a little bit,” Kerfoot said.

“She’s a great player, but we did a good job of slowing her down. One player can’t beat us.”

The Orcas began the tournament with a victory over Clayton Heights on Jan. 8, and followed that with an 80-42 win over the Holy Cross Crusaders in the semifinals.

Holy Cross went on to place third in the Axe division, handing the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers their second consecutive one-point loss. Lord Tweedsmuir dropped their semifinal game 63-62 in overtime to Fleetwood Park, then were edged 51-50 by the Crusaders.

In the Ladder division, the Tamanawis Wildcats cruised to a championship, easily getting by the Panorama Ridge Thunder 57-28 in the final Saturday afternoon at Elgin Park. The Wildcats topped the L.A. Matheson Mustangs 60-17 in the opening round, then beat the Semiahmoo Totems 52-38 in the semifinal round.

Panorama Ridge advanced to the final by beating Sullivan Heights 43-22 in Friday night’s semifinal.

Semiahmoo placed third, defeating Sullivan Heights 43-36 Saturday morning.

In addition to Kerfoot receiving the nod as most valuable player, Jess Franz and Semi’s Laura Murphy-Burke were named to the tournament’s Dream Team, as was Fleetwood’s Sidhu.

Earl Marriott’s Amy Makepeace was one of the tournament’s scholarship winners, and Panorama Ridge was named the most sportsmanlike team.

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