Brianne Robertson

Brianne Robertson

Charles Bloom Timberwolves hungry bunch

Ranked No. 14 with no chance of knocking off the elite teams last March, things are much different for the Charles Bloom Timberwolves

Ranked No. 14 with no chance of knocking off the elite teams last March, things are much different for the Charles Bloom Timberwolves this go around.

The T-Wolves are, for the second consecutive year, hosting the B.C. Senior A Girls Basketball Championships. They are rated seventh in the 2015 Sweet 16 which starts Wednesday.

Coached by Jenn Currie and Madame Katherine Norman, the T-Wolves are somewhat like orphans. They don’t play in a regular league, instead relying on tournaments and exhibition tilts for competition.

“We played exhibition games against Fulton and did very well while VSS was a tough opponent, but we learned lots when we played them,” said Currie, a 1990 Bloom grad who played under Norman at the provincials her final year in Osoyoos. “We beat Kal and Seaton.”

Currie is surrounded by family on the hoop court. Her daughter, Brianne Robertson, and niece Jenna Mulholland, are key returnees. Robertson, Mulholland and Vicki Grahn are all Grade 11s who played both junior and senior ball last year.

“Those three girls are all better players for playing on both teams last season,” said Currie, 43.

Amy Verhage is a Grade 12 post who joins centre Buster Marsh as the twin towers with Bloom. Verhage likes the team’s mind-set going into provincials.

“I wouldn’t say we have any leaders; every single one of us brings something,” said Verhage. “We have all played together for about five years now so we all know each other really well. We have really worked really hard on talking and being focused this year.”

Mulholland and Grade 11 forward Alex Issler, who played summer ball for the UBC Okanagan Heat, are both draining three-pointers with authority.

“We’ve more diversified this year,” said Currie. “We have several defences and we’re added more of a fastbreak element this year. Because of our three-point shooting, we don’t have to rely as much on our tall girls.”

Grade 12 forward Abby Lagerquist brings an aggressive approach to her game, while Cheyanne Barker, a Grade 12 guard, is a lefty which confuses defences. Barker has wheels and steals a ton of balls.

Grade 12 Cheyne Krog, a former Queen Silver Star, and Grade 11 Kyla Hacket both provide grit and determination up front.

“Lately we have been fastbreaking,” said Robertson. “We’re always looking up the floor, passing. Less dribbling was our goal for this year so we have got a little bit of everything.”

Robertson says the coaches and the people of Lumby will help motivate the T-Wolves next week.

“(The coaches) they both give us tough love. They sometimes say that they can only tell us so much and the rest is up to us to really bring it if we want it. We feel we have the advantage having our community support and school support cheering us on.”

The Mulgrave Titans of West Vancouver are No. 1 ranked, followed by the Langley Christian Lightning and the Heritage Christian Saints of Kelowna.

Bloom lost by just six points to Heritage Christian in their home tournament and fell by two buckets to No. 5 Similkameen Sparks of Keremeos at the Valley playdowns hosted by the St. Ann’s Crusaders last weekend in Kamloops.

“As a Grade 12 playing my last four games, it couldn’t be better, earning our own spot in provincials, playing in our home gym, I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my high school basketball career; I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life,” said Verhage.

Bloom opens the provincials Wednesday at 1 p.m. against No. 10 Pemberton Red Devils.

Mulgave takes on the 16th-seeded Fort St. James Falcons Wednesday, 8 p.m., while Langley Christian goes up against No. 15 St. John’s Eagles of Vancouver at 3 p.m. Both those games are at Bloom.

Heritage Christian tangles with the 14th-ranked Nakusp Cougars Wednesday at 9 a.m., while No. 6 Cedars Christian Eagles of Prince George square off versus the No. 11 Credo Christian Kodiaks of Langley at 11 a.m., both at Bloom.

Similkameen meets No. 12 Bulkley Valley Christian Royals of Smithers in a 9 a.m. tilt at Kalamalka Secondary, while No. 4 Lakes District Lakers of Burns Lake face 13-rated St. Ann’s at 11 a.m., also at Kal.