Vernon products win bronze at national hoops event

Kelsey Falk and coach Bobby Mitchell lift UBCO Junior Heat to third place at U17 Club Nationals

Kelsey Falk

Kelsey Falk

Player Kelsey Falk and coach Bobby Mitchell of Vernon helped lead the UBC Okanagan Junior Heat to the bronze medal at the A National Club Basketball U17 girls championships in Langley.

The Heat fell 68-62 to North Vancouver’s VK U17 team in the semifinals. Falk led the Heat with 18 points and four rebounds.

“We didn’t get off to the best start and found ourselves fighting uphill for most of the game, trailing 36-24 at the half, and found ourselves down as much as 18 points in the second half,” said Mitchell. “This team has a lot of fight in them and I knew they weren’t going to pack it in. We got a spark from Kassidy Day, Melania Corrado, and Jordan Kemper defensively which got us going. Kelsey Falk had a great second half scoring eight straight points and we actually took a two-point lead with about four minutes to go in the game.

“It was back and forth after that and we had a couple of breakdowns, giving up two open looks which VK scored on and that was the difference. I think I left the press on for a few too many possessions and we were too tired down the stretch, but very proud of our fight win this game.”

The Junior Heat went 5-1 in the preliminary round.

They opened with a 56-55 loss to the VK U16 squad (Falk 13 points, nine rebounds), then rattled off five straight wins:

56-17 over Edmonton Swoosh U17 (Falk 10 pts); 69-7 over Manitoba Storm Hawks (Falk, 17); 77-23 over Vancouver’s Triple Threat Orange; 78-31 against Calgary Warriors; and 54-38 over the Edmonton Grads (Falk, 12 pts, eight boards).

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In the playoffs, UBCO won its quarterfinal, 61-40 over Triple Threat Black, setting up the semifinal with North Vancouver VK.

“We were awarded third rd place and that’s something we can be proud of,” said Mitchell. “We really wanted to be in the final as this was something we talked about in April, so there was some disappointment after the game.

“I know how hard this team worked and how committed they were to myself as a coach and to each other, and I could not be more proud of them all. They really left a mark on the Junior Heat program. The legacy of this team won’t soon be forgotten.”

The Heat finished with a spring/summer record of 28-7. The 28 wins is a new club record (26 by 2013 Junior Heat), and the 35 games played is the most for the team (previous high of 31).

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