Morning Star Staff
They go into the B.C. Senior A Girls Basketball Championship ranked 14th in a field of sweet 16.
However, the Charles Bloom Timberwolves will sleep in their own comfy beds and they know every inch of the school gym. Home-court advantage should count for something starting Wednesday.
The underdog T-Wolves are coached by Jennie Currie and Madame Katherine Norman with four players pulling double duty with the junior and senior teams.
Grade 10 point guard Victoria Grahn, who has run hard in 36 games for the two Bloom teams, likes the T-Wolves’ mind-set going into provincials.
“Our connection,” replied Grahn, when asked about what works best for the T-Wolves. “We are all really close on the seniors; we have been together for a couple years now and the older players on the team are really accepting of the juniors.
“When we are successful, I think it is because we are so connected and it is easy to know where your teammate is going to be; you know they will get the pass to you and they will catch your pass.”
The T-Wolves open the tournament Wednesday, 6 p.m., versus the No. 3 Cedars Christian Eagles of Prince George.
Grahn says Bloom can pull off the fast break and flash stingy defence.
“I think we are a bit of both. It depends on what team we are playing. If we know we are playing a slower team we can have a fast break. I think we are a good defensive team. We know a few plays and we can jump from a man to man to a zone so we are pretty well-rounded.”
The T-Wolves had no league action this year so entered a few tournaments and challenged some AA schools to prepare for the provincials.
On the team’s coaches, Grahn said: “They are kinda the same but really different at the same time. They are both really competitive and supportive of us. We have really good relationships with them Mrs. Currie teaches in the elementary school and Madame (they call her Madame because she is the French teacher) teaches here so we have all had them for teachers. They’re teaching styles can be different.
“They are demanding of us; they want us to be committed and give 110 percent in practice and in games and they know that we will.”
Grahn, who is also involved in skiing, curling, soccer, volleyball, student voice and leadership, says the T-Wolves get plenty of on-court moxy.
“I think we kinda rely on everyone; everyone brings different things. I’m known to be the yeller or the talker on the court…It is not just one person that we are kinda looking to, and with some teams that can be their weakness,”
Grade 12 post player Shelby Bauml says coach Norman keeps the team honest with a few teammates strong at leadership.
“Madame is high energy and in your face a lot; she is a really great coach,” said Bauml. “I would definitely say Vicky Grahn and Amy Verhage are really good at slowing it down and taking their shots and organizing us.”
On the season so far, Bauml said: “There were tough tournaments and ones that we did good in so it will be interesting in provincials. We know Immaculata (Mustangs of Kelowna) is going to be really tough because they are always ranked as one of the top teams in B.C. and there are a lot of teams we haven’t played yet.”
Defending champion Immaculata is ranked No. 1 and open against the 16th-seeded Glenlyon/Norfolk Gyrphons of Victoria.
It’s a family affair for Currie, 42, who graduated from Bloom in 1972. Her sister, Michelle Mulholland, also played high school hoops in Lumby.
“It is interesting I went to high school here at Charles Bloom and she (Katherine Norman) was my coach for basketball then and she took us to provincials (1990) as well so it is kind of full circle and my daughter (Brianne Robertson) and niece (Jenna Mulholland) play on the team.”
The T-Wolves often compete with seven players due to other commitments. Cheynne Krog is Queen Silver Star and Lisa Campeau plays Midget quad hockey in Kelowna.