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KSS girls dominant en route to Valley title and berth at B.C. tourney

<who>Photo Credit/Cover Design: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>

In what was a foregone conclusion, the Kelowna Owls garnered their fourth straight pennant at the Okanagan Valley senior AAA girls basketball championship on the weekend.

Photo Gallery (61 photos on KelownaNowSports Facebook page)

Somewhat surprising though was the Kelowna Secondary School team’s dominance despite playing much of the tournament without their top offensive player at less than 100% health-wise.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed: </who>The Kelowna Owls scored more than 100 points in both games on the way to their fourth straight Okanagan Valley senior AAA girls basketball championship at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School on the weekend. Members of the winning team, coached by Darren Semeniuk, Heather Semeniuk and Quentin Thiessen, are from left, front: Kasey Patchell, Jenna Holland, Rachel Hare, Taya Hanson, Kyara Klempner and Dez Day. Back: Kassidy Day, Rylee Semeniuk, Jordan Kemper, Kennedy Dickie, Jaeli Ibbetson, and Paige Watson.Even with guard Taya Hanson on the bench in their semifinal game and still sporting a sore shoulder in the title match, the Owls racked up more than 100 points in both encounters.

The Owls, 8-0 in regular-season play, and ranked No. 2 in the province, opened the Valley tournament by defeating the once-mighty Salmon Arm Jewels 101-18 in semifinal play and waltzing to a 112-31 victory over the Penticton Lakers in the championship game at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Jaeli Ibbetson drives hard to the hoop in the championship game against Penticton. The Grade 11 forward scored 11 points for the Owls in the final after netting 30 in a semifinal win over Salmon Arm.The pair of lopsided wins earned the Owls another trip to the B.C. championship tournament in Langley March 1-4.

Stepping up to fill the gap left by Hanson’s less than full-out contribution was six-foot Kennedy Dickie, who led the team with 22 points in the championship game after contributing another 18 in the win over Salmon Arm.

The Grade 11 forward also grabbed a total of 13 rebounds in the two games and added 12 steals on the way to being named the tournament’s most valuable player.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow</who>The Owls' Kasey Patchell was selected to the first all-star team and named the best defensive player.“Kennedy was very focused on the weekend and really took care of all the things that put her game over the top — getting after the boards, blocking shots, stealing the ball, hitting shots including 3s, and sharing the ball with her teammates,” said Owls’ assistant coach, Heather Semeniuk. “Even though this wasn’t the toughest competition, those things need to be done to have good games and the good weekend she had.”

Semeniuk, who shares the coaching with her son, head coach Darren Semeniuk and former KSS Owls player and boys’ coach, Quentin Thiessen, added that it was encouraging — going into the 16-team provincial tournament — to see the team as a whole play with such energy after several days of layoff.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Selected as the top academic/athletic award winner, Rachel Hare was also named to the Valley's second all-star team.“We hadn’t played in several days and although we had been working hard in practice to be prepared for the remainder of the season, the girls were excited about getting back into game situations.

“They were energetic and focused on playing well . . . especially the seniors, although they were also a bit sad knowing these were the last games in Kelowna.”

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Dez Day of the Owls played her final high school game in the Okanagan and was named to the Valley's first all-star team.While Dickie stood out as the MVP, the Owls also got first-team all-star performances from Hanson, Jaeli Ibbetson, Dez Day and Kasey Patchell, the latter being selected as the top defensive player of the tournament. Rachel Hare — also presented with the Okanagan academic/athletic award — was named to the second all-star team along with Kalli Doell of the Mt. Boucherie Bears.

Ibbetson (Grade 11) led the Owls against Salmon Arm, scoring 30 points, hauling in six rebounds and adding three assists. She netted another 11 points and seven boards in the title game. Day scored 11 points and added four boards and four steals in Friday’s semifinal while putting down 16 points against Penticton.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Although sitting out the first game of the tournament, the Owls' Taya Hanson earned first-team all-star honours at the Valley tournament.The diminutive Patchell added 14 points in Saturday’s final, while Jordan Kemper came through with one of her better all-around performances of the season, pitching in with 18 points in the semis and 17 in the final.

There was no apologizing for rolling to convincing wins in the two playoff games on the weekend.

As was the case in lopsided wins at their own tournament earlier this month, Heather Semeniuk explained that the Owls were utilizing the past weekend’s games a tune-up for the provincials.

<who>Photo Credit: Lorne White/KelownaNow </who>Jordan Kemper scored 25 points in two games or the Owls at the Valley championship tournament.“We really need to have our strengths playing together well so they can go down (to Langley) and be ready to play against the best in the province,” she said.

Considered the best going into the provincial tournament will be the No. 1-ranked Walnut Grove Gators of Langley, who have lost only twice this season (92-86 to Tweedsmuir and 90-78 to Abbotsford) and have won six tournaments they’ve entered.

They’ve defeated the Owls in their two tournament finals — 83-64 and 84-75.

Photo Gallery (61 photos on KelownaNowSports Facebook page)

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