Going into the girls 1A provincial basketball championships in Abbotsford, Credo Christian head coach Kayla VanderHorst knew victory was possible, but it wouldn’t be easy.
“We kind of knew it was anybody’s game,” VanderHorst said.
“We came in knowing that we could win [but] we would have to fight for it.”
Credo had core players from the same group that won the provincials two years ago, the first time in 25 years for the Langley school.
“The girls were in a really good head space,” VanderHorst said.
“They had a really strong mental game and at the end of the day I felt that whats won it for us.”
On Saturday, it was Credo Christian versus Unity Christian, defending champions from 2018 in the final.
“It was tight the whole time, as we knew it would be,” VanderHorst said.
“We’ve played them three time this season and every time we’ve played them it’s been within 10 points.
By the half, Kodiaks were down eight points.
“I said to the girls at half time, we’re outplaying them, but they’re outscoring us and we need buckets to win.”
Credo built up a seven-point lead in the second, but the tenacious Unity players weren’t about to give up, putting up a three-pointer in the closing seconds.
“We managed to hold the ball until the end,” VanderHorst said.
Credo won 75-71.
Credo’s Kari Stam was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
“She’s just a very consistent player which is always good to have as a coach,” VanderHost said.
Credo Christian’s Rebekah Allison was named most defensive player.
Her coach said the physically fearless Allison is a “firecracker … the most exciting and sometimes terrifying [type of player] for a coach to watch.”
Kodiak Esther Allison made the first all-star team.
Allison, the tallest Credo player was described as a “really valuable” three-point shooter by coach VanderHorst.
“She [was] defending on the inside against the big players and putting up numbers for us [as well].”
There will be some rebuilding to do next year, with the entire Credo starting line-up graduating, but many outstanding players like Stam and Allison will be back to take another run at a third provincial title.