The Riverside senior girls’ and junior girls’ basketball team have begun their 2018-19 season. The senior girls’ team is coached by Riverside teacher, Ms. Kelli Langford’s father, Paul Langford, and Mr. Jeremy Neufeld, another Riverside teacher. The team will be looking to do a little bit better this year after they placed sixth at Provincials last year, a placement they know they can improve on.
The junior girls’ team is currently coached by community coach, Desha Puri, who played basketball at Riverside for four years as a student and has now returned to the school to help coach and give back. The junior girls’ team is also sponsored by Riverside teacher, Mrs. Michelle Kendal.
Both the junior and senior girls’ basketball teams recently finished playing in the Victoria Christmas Invitational on December 7 and 8, which was hosted at the University of Victoria. The senior and junior girls’ team attend this tournament annually.
The junior girls finished with a record of 4-0, winning the championship. They faced their biggest challenge in the second and third games of the tournament, in which they beat Belmont by a score of 64-57 and beat Yale by a score of 56-48. The team then went on to beat Brookswood 58-23 in the final game of the tournament.
“The strengths of the junior team are that they are all really good individual players, but they also all play as a team really well. There is no real one superstar we have to depend on. Everyone holds their own, plays really good defense and is accurate in their shots. They played really well as a team; everything came together, and they blew away the competition,” said Kendal.
The senior girls’ team also swept the tournament, also finishing with a record of 4-0 and winning the championship. The first two games were quite easy games, as Riverside beat Nanaimo District 83-37 and beat Bishop Grandin 98-37. The third and fourth games of the tournament proved a real challenge for Riverside, but they managed to get the win in what were two very close and competitive games. In the third game of the tournament, Riverside got a win in a very close game against Brookswood, in which the final score was 88-85. The fourth and final game of the tournament was incredibly close, but Riverside managed to get the win against Oak Park, a team from Manitoba, as the game finished with a final score of 86-84. Oak Park nearly tied the game at the buzzer, but the shot was just unable to go in.
“(What helped them win the tournament was) good teamwork, never giving up, perseverance, grit, continuously sticking with it, plugging away and playing hard until the last buzzer,” said Ms. Michelle Burton, a Riverside teacher, and mother of senior girls’ small forward, Tessa Burton.
The junior and senior girls’ will try to get better so that they can achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Provincial Championships.