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AESS senior girls eyeing spot in basketball provincials

The team needs to move up one more ranking get a place in the championships
Agassiz Eagles player Katrina Lawley battling it out against the Khalsa Lions in January 2018. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

The Agassiz Eagles only need to move up one more spot before they can find themselves in the running for this year’s provincial basketball championships.

“There’s three berths for provincials, so we’re trying to fight to make it into the third spot,” Greg Lawley, school vice-principal and team coach, said about the senior girls team.

Lawley said the team is currently eighth in the province and fourth in their league, meaning they need to move up one ranking in order to make it into the 2019 provincial championships.

The girls will have to take on some of the top A-level teams in the Fraser Valley, including Surrey’s Khalsa Lions, which are seventh in the province and already beat the Eagles once this season. Agassiz will be playing the Khalsa Lions in a home game on Feb. 7.

But before they get there, they’ll be heading to Kelowna to play against teams from other parts of the province. The Eagles will be playing Kelowna’s Heritage Christian Saints on Friday, Jan. 25, followed by the Fernie Falcons on Saturday.

“We’re really trying to build towards the Fraser Valleys,” Lawley said. “We’re trying to prove ourselves against other single-A teams.”

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The outlook is good for making it to the provincials. So far, the Eagles have been following a similar trajectory to last year, which saw them finish the provincials in 11th place. (The year before, the team finished in second.)

“Certain games we’ve done really good, better than expected, and some we’ve fallen short,” Rionna Vander Wyk, one of only two Grade 12 students on the team, said.

“We have a really tough league,” Lawely added. “Unity Christian is number one in the province, and they’re in our league.”

Many of the teams have mostly Grade 12 and 11 students on their team — something that provides a bit of a challenge for the Agassiz Eagles, which is mostly made up of Grade 9 and 10 students. But, the Eagles do have some key strengths, and they plan to use those to make it to the top.

“It’s the same group, majority as last year, so everybody knows each other’s strengths,” Vander Wyk said, adding that communication was a big asset for them. “When we’re all on the same page, things go good.”

The team will need to play smart though, she added, and be determined in their games.

Lawely agreed.

“We need to take care of the basketball and have way less turnover,” he said. “If we’re going to beat Khalsa for example, we need to not hand the ball over as much as we have, and make good decisions.”

The Agassiz Eagles will be in Kelowna from Jan. 25 to 26 for a tournament. Their next home game will be on Feb. 7 against the Khalsa Lions at 6:15 p.m.

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The Agassiz Eagles senior girls basketball team. (Contributed)