The McMath Wildcats will host their own tournament next weekend although some might suggest they just played it.
The Wildcats continued their recent dominance of the 11th annual Bob Carkner Classic Memorial Classic with a 92-69 win over the Steveston-London Sharks in Saturday night’s championship game. It was their third consecutive title and they did it with a starting line-up that even features Carkner’s granddaughter Kate — a Grade 10 guard.
The Sharks are enjoying their best season in recent memory thanks to a core group that won the Grade 9 provincials a year ago and has been aged up. Those girls enjoyed some terrific battles with McMath over the years but now have to contend with senior talent, along with two of the best Grade 8s in the province.
Forwards Marina Radocaj and Caitlin Kippan combined for 48 points and 31 rebounds. Throw in another 22 points from tourney MVP and Grade 11 standout Liz Kennedy and it was simply too much firepower for the hosts to deal with.
The Wildcats blitzed the Sharks for 50 points in the opening half, fuelled by a 15-4 second quarter run that turned a tight game into a 20-point lead.
That cushion stayed relatively intact the rest of the way thanks to McMath grabbing 26 offensive rebounds that resulted in plenty of second and third chance opportunities.
Radocaj was dominant in the early going, scoring 17 of her 26 points in the opening half to secure tournament all-star honours. Kippan came off the bench to provide an instant spark with six of her 17 points in the first quarter. Jayna Wilson added 10 and was also named to the all-star team.
Grade 10s Mina Chong and Sharlene Siy had 18 and 16 points respectively. Grade 11 guard Shir Dayan added 17. All three were tournament all-stars.
The result extended the Wildcats win streak against city opponents to 50 games. They will take aim at their sixth straight Richmond championship next month when the two teams could very well meet again.
McMath’s run to the title also included wins over Clayton Heights and John Oliver. Steveston-London advanced with victories over North Delta and Burnaby Mountain.
At the buzzer…
-The one thing that could end McMath’s run at the Carkner Classic is an invite to Centennial’s Top 10 Shootout next season. That showcase tournament happens the very same weekend.
-The Sharks will now turn their attention to a key league game at Hugh Boyd Tuesday that will determine second place in the league standings. There’s a good chance they will also see each other in the city semi-finals