F.P. Walshe Flyers capped an outstanding season Saturday by winning silver medals at the provincial championships in Lethbridge.
Teams from the Deep South Conference dominated the 2A high school girls’ basketball zone tournament, with Immanuel Christian Eagles winning gold and Picture Butte Queens capturing bronze.
The silver medallist Flyers are Sydney Plourde, Cassie Walmsley, Amanda Hofer, Dakota Kambietz, Ruby Kinsella, Naomi Burbank, Kaitlin Quinlan, Kayla Trotter, Tenille Poettcker, Hannah Bullock, Ashley Gunderson and Jane O’Connor.
Coaches are Andrew Walmsley and Landon Schneider and managers are Charlene Drader and Melissa Koch.
Flyers 75 Wolves 64
The Flyers went into the tournament at Immanuel Christian school as the No. 1 seed after winning the zone title a week earlier.
That No. 1 placing put the Flyers in the quarterfinals where they met West Island College Wolves, who were coming off an 81-67 win over Holy Redeemer Rebels in the opening round.
The Flyers received a warm welcome Friday morning from the crowd, which included their school’s entire staff dressed in blue.
The staff got permission from Livingstone Range School Division to hold their scheduled professional development session at Immanuel Christian, taking time off to cheer the Flyers.
That kind of school spirit gave the Flyers a lift as they jumped out to a 22-10 lead in the first quarter.
West Island College fought back to lead 41-39 at halftime, but the Flyers took control again the third quarter, pulling in front 58-49.
The Flyers outscored the Wolves 17-15 in the final quarter to clinch a 75-64 win.
Sydney Plourde scored 25 points to lead all scorers, and Ruby Kinsella scored 18.
Cassie Walmsley scored 10, Dakota Kambeitz had eight, Kaitlin Quinlan had seven, Naomi Burbank had four and Amanda Hofer had three.
The win propelled the Flyers into the semifinals against the No. 5-ranked Picture Butte Queens.
Flyers 46 Queens 45
When the game is on the line, coaches want the ball in the hands of their best players.
On Friday night, Sydney Plourde calmly drained a free throw with seconds on the clock to lift the Flyers to a 46-45 win over Picture Butte.
The Queens had beaten F.P. Walshe twice in regular season, and were looking for revenge for the Flyers upset win in the zone tournament.
The game was a defensive struggle, with the teams tied 1-1 three minutes into the game.
Picture Butte pulled ahead 22-20 at the half, but the Flyers were leading 37-35 after three quarters.
The Flyers surged ahead 41-35 two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Queens battled and took a 44-43 lead with just 32 seconds left.
A basket by the Flyers Amanda Hofer and a free throw by Katarina Bartz of the Queens knotted the game at 45-45 and set the stage for Plourde’s heroics.
Plourde finished the game with 21 points. Kaitlin Quinlan had eight, Ruby Kinsella had six, Amanda Hofer and Cassie Walmsley each had four and Naomi Burbank had three.
The win put the Flyers in the tournament title game Saturday night against the host Eagles, who reached the final with an 81-37 win over Glenmary Saints and a 90-68 win over Strathcona Christian Academy Eagles.
Eagles 71 Flyers 55
Immanuel Christian was on a mission to win the provincial title on its home court, still smarting from a loss a week earlier to the Flyers in the zone championship.
The Flyers showed no signs early of a letdown from their emotional win the night before as F.P. Walshe jumped out to a 21-11 lead in the first quarter.
The Eagles, who placed first in regular season, recovered to pull in front 36-24 at halftime.
From that point the Flyers battled gamely but could never close the gap as the Eagles went on to a 71-55 win and the provincial title.
Sydney Plourde scored 16 points for the Flyers and Amanda Hofer had a dozen.
Cassie Walmsley and Ruby Kinsella each scored nine, Dakota Kambeitz had four, Tenille Poettcker and Naomi Burbank had two apiece and Kaitlin Quinlan had one.