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Plenty more hoop battles ahead for Seaquam & South Delta

League and playoff showdowns on the horizon for city's provincial ranked senior girls basketball teams
Seaquam's Nyssa Sunner attempts to drive past South Delta's Katrina Staley at the Howard Tsumura Invitational on Dec. 16 at the Langley Events Centre.

Delta’s top senior girls basketball teams provided a preview of what’s on the horizon in the weeks and months ahead.

A Friday morning (Dec. 16) consolation game at the Howard Tsumura Invitational had playoff intensity as the Seaquam Seahawks held off the South Delta Sun Devils 73-71 at the Langley Events Centre.

The rivals saw each other the previous weekend at the Victoria Invitational and there will be bigger games on the horizon, including a league clash at the end of January and very likely the South Fraser Championship game in February.

Both teams began the season ranked among the top 10 in the province at the AAAA tier for B.C.’s largest schools.

The Sun Devils are coming off their best season in 17 years, culminating with the South Fraser title and a 10th place finish at the provincial tournament.

Head coach Sharon Butler’s returning talent features her high-scoring Grade 11 daughter Kaija Rutledge who poured in 45 points in the loss to Seaquam. The group of seniors includes Mackenzie Campbell who is fresh off earning provincial all-star honours with the school’s volleyball team and will only get better as the season unfolds.

Vacationing Grade 12 post Kira Denney was missed in Langley, but will also be a major presence in the starting five while Spanish exchange student Silvia Castaneda returns to start at guard, and aged up Grade 10 Kyra Milette round out the starting five.

Butler says the potential is there for her team to take another step forward this season, but there is work to be done.

South Delta dropped an opening round 66-50 decision to St. Michael’s University at the Tsumura Invitational as the powerhouse AAA school’s full court pressure was the deciding factor, especially in the opening half.

“We didn’t have Mackenzie in Victoria and now Kira this week. We just haven’t really been together as a full team yet and only have had about five practices (due to a heavy game schedule), so there has been a lot of learning on the fly,” said Butler. “I went into the season thinking we can be a top five team, but there really is a lot of work to do.”

The Seahawks also broke through last season with their first B.C. berth in recent memory and the future looks bright as well thanks to the arrival of young talent from their provincial championship junior team. Head coach Lucky Toor was recognized as the Delta Sports Hall of Fame’s coach-of-the-year back in October, thanks to his outstanding work in guiding both squads.

He has wasted no time in giving some of his promising players significant roles with the senior team including Grade 9s Callie Brost, Syra Toor and Camryn Tait, while 6-foot-3 Grade 10 Sydney Roufosse provides a presence in the paint.

Seaquam opened the Tsumura Invitational with a 75-51 loss to Kelowna then bounced back with wins over Argyle (50-35) and South Delta before being edged by Yale (63-62).