It has been a near perfect season for the Mountain Christian (MCS) Rams girls’ basketball squad, which has as good a chance as any in school history to qualify for the single ‘A’ provincials next month.
“It’s probably been the most successful [team] Mountain’s ever had,” said head coach, Darryl Macgregor, last week during one of the team’s final practices before they head to Fort St. James for the zone championships, scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
“We’re in contention to make provincials, which would be nice,” added Macgregor.
The Rams are undefeated in tournament play, with four tourney wins, and haven’t lost a game since losing by one point in exhibition to Dawson Creek Secondary senior girls in early December.
At 16-1 for the season, the Rams enter the tournament as one of the top ranked teams challenging for two available B.C. berths.
The Rams will need at least a top three finish to clinch a spot at provincials. Cedars Christian of Prince George, B.C., the heavy favourites to win zones, are scheduled to host the provincial championships and therefore automatically qualify, leaving two more open slots for a northern team to snatch up.
“They [Cedars] win games by 50 sometimes, so it will be two other teams battling for the two available berths,” explained Macgregor, who expects Northside Academy out of Vanderhoof, B.C. and Fraser Lake to be in the mix for the other open spots.
MCS has experience playing Northside Academy, and can expect a tough game against them if they were to meet at zones.
At their last tournament of the season, two weeks ago in Valemount, the Rams made an improbable comeback in the finals against Northside, overcoming a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win by two, 36-34.
Macgregor says that where the Rams lack in offence they make up for on defense.
“Offensively we struggle; defense is our game for sure.”
The Rams commit to keeping their opponents on the perimeter and off the glass with a tough to beat 2-3 zone-defense. Not to mention the Rams have six returning players from last year’s team that placed fifth at zones last year, the highest finish ever for the school's girls team.
“We have a really strong zone defense and a strong leadership core. Our leaders have been playing together for quite a few years,” noted Macgregor, pointing out six returning players.
Macgregor says that just to be going to zones as a contender is a huge step for the girls’ basketball program at MCS.
“For us to compete for provincials is insane. With such a small student body, 112 students total - K through 12 - what they are doing is really impressive.”