Some great hoop action took place in March as the top 3A girls high school basketball teams from all over Alberta competed for the championship title. In the end, Edmonton Christian High, one of the smaller schools, won gold.
Coach Brady Van Ry, a member of CentrePointe Christian Reformed Church who was appointed coach last fall, was assisted by Cassie Haarsma and Joan Konynenbelt, also members of local Christian Reformed churches.
“Going into provincials, we were the #1-ranked team, but the final game was very close,” Van Ry said. “We were up by only two points at halftime.”
Van Ry said big scoring by Leah Vandenboogaard and Jillian VanderVinne broke the game open. “We controlled the game from that point to the end, winning 53-46,” the coach said. “The last few moments of that game seemed to take forever! We were especially elated because this is the first 3A girls’ provincial basketball title for our school.”
“I will never forget the feeling of ‘we actually did it’ as soon as the buzzer went off,” said Vandenboogaard, “not that I didn’t believe we could, but you never really know what can happen, like someone getting hurt or getting in foul trouble. I would not change one thing about this season. I love every single person on my team, and we will forever be a family.”
VanderVinne described the hard work involved in achieving gold. “We worked hard all the way from September to our final weeks in March. In addition to improving our skills, we did lots of conditioning throughout the season and continuously worked hard,” she said. “Our team also competed in the top division in Edmonton with much larger schools that were ranked very high provincially. That made our season difficult at times, but it pushed us harder to improve and also made us closer as a team. Winning it all with these girls gave me the most amazing sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. I love my team and coaches and couldn't have asked for any better season or team.”