It was a victory for more than just the team.The Britannia Bruins were down three points with a quarter to play but outscored the Langley Christian Lightning 23-12 over the final 10 minutes to capture the BC Secondary School 2A Girls Championship on Saturday at Langley Events Centre in front of a standing room-only crowd of 1,100.
A large chunk of that crowd were supporters for the inner-city Vancouver school.“It is not just them. It is the whole Downtown Eastside, east side of Vancouver, the kids that go to our feeder schools,” said Britannia coach Mike Evans. “The people who are always trying to get better and often can’t quite make it because of circumstance, so to be champion of something … it is something profound.”“It means a lot. It represents our Brit community. We were talking in the locker room, we were winning this for our Brit community,” said Shemaiah Abatayo. “We are not winning it for ourselves, we are winning it for the whole community because everyone is so supportive.”
The title was the first for Britannia since winning it all in 2012. The team placed eighth last year while Langley Christian won bronze and they were hoping to capture their first title at the 2A level (they have previously won at the 1A level).Saturday’s game began great for the top-seeded Lightning as they opened on an 11-2 run although the second-seed Bruins had cut it down to two points by the quarter break. Britannia took a 41-37 lead at the half.The third quarter saw Langley Christian jump ahead by eight points, but the Bruins had the deficit down three with 10 minutes to play.The Lightning, however, could not buy a basket in the fourth, hitting just four of their 17 field goal attempts (23.5 per cent) with the Bruins putting up 23 points.“We worked hard. We gave it our all but we just missed some shots, missed some lay-ups, some easy stuff which would have kept us a little closer down the stretch,” said Lightning coach Danielle Gardner. “That’s just the nature of the game.”