B.C. hangs on for win in gold-medal girls' basketball thriller
Forgive Riley Oien if her voice is a bit hoarse.
She was just a part of one of the most exciting basketball games the 200-plus crowd at the Tournament Capital Centre will ever see.
Oien’s Team B.C. squad squeaked out a 61-60 win over Manitoba in the gold-medal match of the Western Canada Summer Games girls’ basketball tournament on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
The 14-year-old South Kamloops secondary student said she’s never been involved in a game as wild as Tuesday’s final.
“Not really, no,” she said.
“It was pretty exciting. I was screaming at the top of my lungs.”
But, it wasn’t always so exciting. In fact, B.C. stormed out of the gate and was up by 14 points after the first quarter.
The host team stayed pretty much in control of the game well into the fourth quarter, when Manitoba — led by a clutch performance by Kyanna Giles — made things interesting.
B.C. coach Morgan McLaughlin blamed complacency.
“We just stopped doing the things we needed to do,” she said after the game.
“They [Manitoba] are so athletic and so good at anticipating where the ball’s going to be. We fed their fire, basically.”
Things got interesting with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter, when Manitoba pulled to within six points.
With 90 seconds left, they were down by three, with the ball, when a missed jumper resulted in a B.C. rebound.
However, a full-court press hemmed the hosts in their own backcourt and they were called for an eight-second violation.
Manitoba capitalized and made it a one-point game when another B.C. backcourt violation turned the ball over again, this time with 42.5 seconds left.
A missed Manitoba shot then went out of bounds and B.C. got the ball back, only to turn it over again on a travelling call.
Giles ended up with the ball and a chance to win, but couldn’t get a shot off at the buzzer and B.C. wound up on top.
Oien said she was thrilled to be able to win at home.
“It’s really exciting,” she said.
“I get to go home with my gold medal and say I won it at the TCC.”