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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The senior girls volleyball team was in Vancouver last week competing at the AAAA Provincial Championships. The Grizzlies started off with tough pool play matches against Claremont (#10), Kelowna (#1) and Seaquam (#11). As this was the first time at provincials for a majority of the team, the girls got off to a shaky start. They did, however, play some excellent volleyball against Kelowna, challenging them and earning hard fought points.

After finishing fourth in their pool, the Grizzlies took on Elgin Park (#6). It was a hard fought match, with solid contributions from all of the girls. The middles did a great job closing blocks, which was something they worked on a lot this year, and they had little to no communication errors. After losing in two sets to Elgin Park, the Grizzlies finished the tournament off with a win against the Mount Boucherie Bears. After losing the first set 25-21, the girls were not disheartened. They were fired up and ready to work a little longer to reach their goal. After being down in the second set 21-24, captain Brynn Shaw served the girls home, winning 26-24 and forcing that third and final set. They fought for every point and were ultimately successful after Maddie Gray had the last point and kill to win the match. Huge congrats to the Grizzlies, especially Grade 12 players Brynn Shaw, Megan Salinas, Heather Chmelyk and MacKenzie O’Brien!

This weekend saw the opening tournament for the senior boys, senior girls and junior boys basketball teams. The senior boys started off against the Dawson Creek junior boys, which provided the boys with a great opportunity to practice their team concepts. The Grizzlies came out with a lot of energy and all 12 of the boys got significant minutes in the win. After winning their second game 89-73 against the CCS Eagles (with 27 points and 13 rebounds from Grade 12 Tristan Soychuck), the Grizzlies went into the finals against the hometown DCSS Penguins. The game was close the entire way, as the Grizzlies maintained a minor lead throughout, until the third quarter. With some key players in foul trouble, the Grizzlies had to rely on the rest of the team to finish out the game. They all showed great determination and made big plays at the end, especially Grade 11 player Tatum Salinas. Standing at roughly 6 feet, he was matched up against their 6’8 big man. His hustle on both ends of the court, combined with two last minute free throws, sealed the game for the Grizzlies with a final score of 81-72. Congrats boys!

The senior girls started off strong in Dawson with their first win of the season against Grande Prairie on Friday. On Saturday morning, the girls battled hard in a close game against Sexsmith where they fell just short of a win. Right after their game finished, they went to play against Dawson Creek for third place, which the girls pulled together to win. Special shout out to Grade 12 Kaylie Willeboordse, who demonstrated exceptional work ethic, leadership and positivity amongst her teammates.

In their first game of the tournament, the junior boys lost to the eventual second place finisher, DCSS, by a score of 57-83. In the second game, the Grizzlies played the Sexsmith senior team, winning Sexsmith 71-50. This led to a showdown for fifth place against a more mature senior team from Beaverlodge. The Grizzlies relied on strong defensive plays both in rebounding, steals and help defense to beat Beaverlodge 67-58, locking up a fifth place finish. Having had only four practices and a new group of boys, the junior team gelled just in time to come up with an impressive effort for their first tournament! Congrats boys!

Up Next: The junior boys are set for the second tournament of the season this weekend in Tumbler Ridge. 

Athlete of the Week: Hannah Gould (Gr. 11, Sr Girls Volleyball)
Hannah played exceptionally well in every game at provincials. She has learned a lot on defence this season and it showed, as she continued to transition correctly and read the attackers. Not only was her digging excellent against big swingers, she was dominant at receiving serves as well, which allowed the girls to try and run some offence! Congrats Hannah! 

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