Wildcats clear a couple of early hurdles

Wins over Sharks and Trojans puts McMath in driver's seat for 1st place finish

It’s not often a Richmond high school basketball team can say it has completed its toughest stretch of the regular season by Dec. 5 but that certainly is the case for the McMath Wildcats.

The five-time defending city champion pulled away for a 72-54 victory over the Hugh Boyd Trojans on Wednesday night. The result came 48 hours after opening the city schedule with a 60-44 triumph agaunst the Steveston-London Sharks.

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The Wildcats should have little trouble in their remaining seven league encounters as they continue to build on a 44-game win streak against Richmond opponents, dating back over the last four seasons. However, for the first time in that dominant run, there was actually some doubt about the final outcome.

An impressive Boyd team, that plays in the “AA” tier for smaller schools, enjoyed a 15-9 lead after one quarter. The Wildcats finally gained traction thanks to an 11-0 run in the second, led by Grade 11 Elizabeth Kennedy who overcame two early fouls to score a game-high 30 points.

Still, it wasn’t a blowout which typically is the case for McMath against city opponents. The Trojans climbed back within eight points in the third quarter before the Wildcats finally put the game out of reach.

“it was our toughest (league) game in four years,” said McMath co-coach Chris Kennedy. “They have some nice players. Kara Moscovitz is very good for them and some other girls too. We are young and we got young fast. We’re counting on a couple of Grade 8s to be really productive for us.It’s a team that’s actually built to be even better next year.

“We talked to the girls about how the two most important games we are going to play before the city championships were Monday and Wednesday of this week. We have those games ahead against teams from other zones but in terms of seedings, rankings and getting into the right position for the Lower Mainland playoffs, we had to get these two. There is no make-up for that. It would have been a killer one week into the season being behind for the whole year.”

One of those talented Grade 8s is Marina Radocaj who has been battling the flu bug all week but still managed a team-high 17 points against Steveston-London and 13 more on Wednesday.

Senior Jayna Wilson added nine against the Trojans while Caitlin Kippan and Kate Carkner had seven each. They are in Grade 8 and 10 respectively.

The Wildcats will now get a steady diet of non-Richmond opponents, starting with the Victoria Christmas Tournament this weekend before heading to Langley for the Howard Tsumura Invitational. It’s then off to Riverside in Port Coquitlam for the Tournament for Emily, Dec. 18-20.


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