After a defensive struggle in the first half, the Langley Christian Lightning found their offensive game in the second half en route to a 24-14 victory in the Langley district basketball championship game.
The game was played in the Langley Events Centre arena bowl, with the Lightning defeating the H.D. Stafford Skyhawks 24-14.
“Part of what I told the team (at half) was to keep doing what they were dong and the shots will eventually start falling,” said Langley Christian coach Cynthia Wergeland.
“The rims are pretty unforgiving here.”
The score was just 5-4 at the half in favour of Langley Christian and it marks the second straight year the Lightning have won the Grade 8 girls title. The Brookswood Bobcats had won the previous 15 titles.
“At the start of the year, the goal was to repeat, to do this again,” Wergeland said.
“And we are a strong team. We have a couple of good ball-handlers and without Natasha (Dickhof), our big girl inside, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Dickhof led the Lightning with a dozen points while Stafford’s Kaylin Hartman had 10.
Another key was for the team to play together, and not as individuals, Wergeland added.
Langley Christian, Stafford and the Walnut Grove Gators all finished tied atop the regular season standings but Stafford was awarded the top seed through the tiebreaker. And in the semifinals, the Lightning beat Walnut Grove 32-26 while Stafford beat the Brookswood Bobcats 30-17.
In the third place game, the Gators defeated the Bobcats 39-30.
All four teams move on to the Fraser Valley championships.
Wergeland said her team’s goal is to finish top eight at the Valleys.
They also have a first place finish from the Christian Schools tournament and a second place finish at a tournament in Pitt Meadows — where they lost by a single point — from earlier this season under their belts.
The 32-team Fraser Valley championships begin Feb. 18 and wrap up on Feb. 24.