HCS Wildcats win second B.C. basketball banner

Houston Christian School's senior girls basketball team won their final game against Cedars Christian Saturday, capping a perfect season.

Ruth Hamblin and the Houston Christian Wildcats won the opening jump over Kayla Gordon and the Cedars Christian Eagles on Saturday night at the Northern Sports Centre

Ruth Hamblin and the Houston Christian Wildcats won the opening jump over Kayla Gordon and the Cedars Christian Eagles on Saturday night at the Northern Sports Centre

As the teams gathered in the hallway at the Northern Sports Centre on Saturday evening, Ruth Hamblin had one request for her coach, Wendall Ewald.

“Coach,” said Hamblin, towering over everyone in the hallway as she had in leading the Houston Christian Wildcats to a second straight provincial basketball championship, “I need a hug.”

Ewald was happy to oblige, then hugged each of the other senior players on the squad. It was a moment to savour, because there may not be another one for a while.

“We might not have a team next year,” Ewald had said quietly a few moments earlier. “It’s one of the problems with being a small school. We only had nine girls in Grade 11 and 12 this year, so we may go from hanging our second straight banner to not even having a team.”

But that’s worry for the next school year.

Saturday night was about an 80-63 win over the host Cedars Christian Eagles in the championship game, the second title game in a row between the northern rivals. Last year’s game saw the Wildcats post a 75-48 win. The win also gave the Wildcats a 26-0 record this season.

Ewald said the Eagles showed some new styles in this year’s final.

“Their pressure defence this year is much improved over last year. They obviously wanted to put pressure on our guards, but it ended up that our guards could handle it.”

Cedars coach Al MacDonald agreed the pressure his team put on had worked, but not well enough.

“We found some success pressing, we forced some turnovers, but then we had too many turnovers ourselves. I thought we had more depth than they did, so the pressure would hurt them more. They’re a very fast team, though, and they stayed away from fouls.”

Cedars Christian had a large crowd at the Northern Sports Centre rocking early, as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but drives by Kelly Ewald and inside baskets by Hamblin had the Wildcats up 19-10 after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw the Eagles cut a 24-11 Wildcats lead to 24-22 before the Houston went on a 12-point run of its own. That seemed to be the story the rest of the game, as Cedars would cut into the Houston lead, only to see the Wildcats not just recover, but pull ahead a little more.

Both coaches agreed the Cedars press had been designed to limit the influence of Hamblin on the game, but both also said the results showed something important.

“They’re more than Ruth,” MacDonald said. “Their guards handled the pressure, and they made baskets when they needed to.”

Ewald said Hamblin’s presence on the court changed the game.

“Ruth influences so much, even when she doesn’t have the ball. She draws defenders to her, and that leaves opening for the other girls.

“It’s part of being a team. Ruth sacrifices some points for herself to help the team.”

In some of the earlier games on the tournament, Hamblin had sat out long stretches, especially in the second halves. Against Cedars, though, she played until there was just 1:29 left in the fourth quarter.

“That was the game plan, to play Ruth until the end, until we felt safe. I had five girls who could play the whole game if we needed them to.”

MacDonald said his team played hard, but didn’t have enough answers.

“It was a hard, gritty performance. On offence, we found some answers, but we didn’t have enough stops on defence.

“We needed everyone to have their full A-game out there, and it just didn’t happen. It was a real gutsy effort.”

Just Posted

Workers had a busy time today repairing a broken main water line. (District of Houston photo)
Water service being restored

Main line on 13th had broken

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week following the news that the remains of as many as 215 children were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flags were raised back up yesterday. (Houston Today photo)
Flags lowered in memory

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week… Continue reading

Bruce Tang- Unsplash photo
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

“Older adults in our communities continue to find themselves in vulnerable situations… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read