Cougars claw to regional title

The Columneetza Cougars junior girls basketball team are headed off to the North Central Zone Basketball Championships.

Columneetza Cougars junior girls basketball player Inderroop Randhawa draws some attention from Correlieu Clan players while going up for a layup last Saturday during the regional basketball championships. Columneetza finished first

Columneetza Cougars junior girls basketball player Inderroop Randhawa draws some attention from Correlieu Clan players while going up for a layup last Saturday during the regional basketball championships. Columneetza finished first

The Columneetza Cougars junior girls basketball team are headed off to the North Central Zone Basketball Championships.

The Cougars, in three dominating performances last weekend, punched their ticket to zones, which go Feb. 21-23 at Duchess Park secondary in Prince George, after hosting the regional championships Friday and Saturday at Columneetza secondary.

The Cougars opened Friday with a 61-24 win over the Williams Lake Thunder. Game star went to Ashley Straza for the Cougars, while Laura Pfleiderer was awarded the honour for WLSS. Straza added a career-high 20 points in the contest while Kaylee Billyboy and Naomi Lomavatu each chipped in 10.

WLSS high scorer was Anna Bracewell with eight points, while Pfleiderer dropped seven.

In their second game the Cougars continued to dominate, beating Quesnel’s Correlieu Clan 59-51. Lomavatu was named game star, while Straza led all scorers with 14.

Kaylee Billyboy, Naomi Lomavatu and Ariel Zacharius all scored 10 in the win.

The Thunder, in their second game, marched away with a 44-32 win over Correlieu, to finish second. Pfleiderer, again, was the high scorer, dropping 27 points on the afternoon.

Cougars coach Brigette Peel said the win and the chance to compete at a zone championship means a lot to the girls.

“Due to the school reconfiguration for next year this is our team’s last opportunity to play with each other as Columneetza Cougars and the girls have taken on great pride in doing so,” Peel said.

“I suppose they want their last hoorah to be a grand one and a trip to the provincials would be just that.”

She added the team has continued to gain confidence in their abilities, and shown significant individual improvement.

“Duchess Park will be the team to beat as they are currently ranked No. 3 in the province and favoured to win this tournament,” she said.

“We have not had the opportunity to play them but the north zone will send two berths to provincials. With five teams who have won and lost to one another throughout the season one of the two berths is certainly within our sights.

“I think we will all head to zones with a little fire in our bellies to make sure the Columneetza Cougars are remembered.”