The Maple Ridge Ramblers used a 15-5 run over the final 2:25 to shock the top-seed Brookswood Bobcats in the Fraser Valley senior girls’ AAA championship final on Saturday night.
The Bobcats were up for most of the game before the Ramblers took the lead 65-63 with 1:14 to go and from that point, never trailed, winning 73-67 at the Langley Events Centre.
The Bobcats had tied the score at 67 when Jessie Brown hit a three-pointer with a defender in her face, and 45 seconds to go.
But after the Ramblers scored on their next possession and Brookswood turned the ball over, the Bobcats had to resort to fouling and Maple Ridge sank their foul shots.
Maple Ridge was the third-seed for the 16-team tournament.
“It was a total team collapse, which the coaches take responsibility for,” said Brookswood coach Neil Brown.
“It wasn’t just one or two players.
“They weren’t ready to play.”
The Bobcats lead was single digits for much of the game but they opened the fourth quarter with a couple of three-pointers and had built what seemed to be a comfortable lead with three minutes to play.
“When you are up 10, with three minutes to go, you should win those games,” Brown said.
“It was a perfect storm in the wrong direction.”
A big factor in the game was Tayla Jackson, who was only able to play nine minutes because of foul trouble for Brookswood.
With Jackson on the bench, the task of guarding Fraser Valley MVP — and U18 national team player — Kolbie Orum, who carried her team offensively as well as swatting away several Brookswood shots, fell to Natasha Tadic.
Brown said Tadic did an admirable job defensively, especially considering she was at a significant height-disadvantage.
Orum finished with 40 points, 25 rebounds and five blocked shots. In her team’s semifinal win over Riverside, Orum had 46 points.
But Brown said a loss like this at this point in the season, may not always be a bad thing.
“We look at this as a detour,” he said.
“When you get beat like that, this can help you get things back on the right track.”
The Bobcats should still have a good seed for the B.C. AAA provincial championships, which run March 6 to 9 at the LEC.
Brown, Sydney Williams and Lindsay Wand earned all-star selections for Brookswood.