Poor shot percentage was the downfall for Chemainus Secondary School this past Wednesday (Dec. 11), as the team began its junior girls’ basketball season with an emphatic defeat to Queen of Angels.
The Cougars were defeated 48-17 at home court by their Duncan rivals in a game that emphasized the importance of making shots in the paint.
“We need to improve our movement on the court and pass a little better,” said coach Jennie Hittinger. “We need to make more of the shots we took, as well as our shooting percentage was pretty low in this game.”
Emily Guest, Chemainus’ best player on the night, did finish the game with nine and over half the team’s points but that wasn’t enough to prevent an eye-opening season-opening loss.
Hittinger believes her team was maybe just caught cold.
“Unfortunately they’ve started their season off early, and they’ve already had a few tournaments in Vancouver. This is our first game and it’s probably their eighth or ninth,” said the coach. “So a little bit more exposure and a little bit more time on the floor hopefully will be in our benefit.”
The game started with Chemainus winning the tip-off, but unfortunately, the good news pretty much ended there for the hosts as they were outfought by the more efficient and industrious visitors.
Visiting point guard Mikaila Cardin ran the show, making numerous assists and scoring a variety of baskets whilst talking her team through the game throughout proceedings.
The first quarter finished with Queen of Angels leading 8-2, Cardin scoring two of the four baskets, with Guest scoring Chemainus’ only basket in the first eight minutes.
Guest could’ve had the lead halved by the end of the first but missed two resulting free throws after being fouled.
Into the second and the scoring picked up.
Despite Guest adding a further three points to her total alongside two other baskets for the home team, a scoring blitz from opposition shooting guard Mackenzie Cleaves would take the game away from the hosts.
Cleaves scored four baskets in the second, including a trademark jump shot from just inside the three straight off the immediate inbound, after receiving a pass and dribbling forward.
It was 27-9 at the half, and Hittinger’s troops had work to do.
Queen of Angels were making far more shots from all over the court, and that’s a trend that would continue.
The third quarter saw the visitors score seven baskets, two from Cardin, in reply to Chemainus’ three, including one from Guest and a fantastic layup shot buzzer beater from point guard Kayla Carlson.
The fourth would be more of a quieter quarter. One basket for Chemainus from Guest alongside another four from Queen of Angels, two from Cleaves, who continued to give a masterclass in jump shot shooting, and 17-48 was the final.
Despite a disappointing opening to the season, Hittinger is confident her team can make inroads at the Mid-Island Tournament and provincial qualifier coming up in February.
“It’d be nice to mount a challenge at the Mid-Island Tournament. That’s our goal,” she said.
Last Monday (Dec. 9), Chemainus’ junior boys’ team had better luck, as they defeated Shawnigan 57-18.
Hittinger’s troops don’t play again until the new year.