Oak Bay will be well represented as three local girls compete at the Pacific Western Athletics Association college basketball provincials this weekend, in New Westminster.
Aija Salvador, Emily Frame and Kelly Young play for the Camosun College Chargers and are Oak Bay High school grads. Salvador has gone to provincials three times with the Chargers, is the team’s highest scorer and third highest in B.C. She is confident going into the tournament.
“This year we have the strongest and deepest team,” Salvador, 21, said. “The team worked hard and had a great season.”
The two teams Camosun is worried about are Squamish’s Quest University and Vancouver Island University. Camosun beat Quest in two of three matches this season and won one game out of three against Vancouver Island University. That win was last week.
“VIU, athletically they are big, but they’re not so deep,” said coach Brett Westcott. “(Their players) are older and more experienced. They have two first year kids, while we have a team of 16, and nine are first years.”
The three Oak Bay girls knew each other in high school, but only Frame and Young played basketball together as Salvador is a bit older.
“I think Aija coached me once,” Young said.
Salvador, who also played soccer and softball competitively, said she was always a huge basketball fan.
“I would go home after school and watch every college and NBA game,” she said. “I would shoot hoops at night, it was my peaceful time.
“Some people read books, I played basketball.”
Both Frame and Young love the speed and adrenaline rush that comes with playing the sport.
“I like the competitive and team aspect of it,” Frame said. “I really like playing as it comes naturally to me and it’s a physically demanding sport.”
“I like how quick the sport is,” Young said. “It’s high energy and it’s intense.”
Young previously played soccer, volleyball and field hockey, while Frame prefers outdoor activities, such as hiking and mountain biking.
As for school, Salvador is planning to get into the electrical program, Frame is still exploring as she takes general study courses and Young is pursuing nursing.
The girls credit Oak Bay High school coach Rob Kinnear for inspiring and pushing them to do well in basketball.
“Although all three of us never actually played together before, we feel bonded because of the coach, Mr. Kinnear,” Young said.
“Mr. Kinnear is very important to us,” Salvador added.
The Camosun coach also had kind words for his high school counterpart.
“Rob Kinnear does a good job with the kids at Oak Bay,” Westcott said.
The Pacific Western Athletics provincials (PACWest) is Feb. 27 to March 1. The games can be watched online at sportscanada.tv/pacwest.
Chargers miss bronze medal
The Camosun women’s basketball team lost the bronze medal match at the PacWest Championships ending their season in fourth place.
In New Westminster where the college tournament was held, the local Chargers lost both their games. The first one against Squamish’s Quest University and the second game against VIU for the bronze.
“We were nervous,” said player Kelly Young. “In the first half, we weren’t making our shots. We were hitting under 15 per cent.”
The Chargers came back in the second half, but couldn’t make up the lead that Quest had over them. Quest won 82-62. Camosun played strong in the bronze medal game, but things reversed at the end.
“We were winning the whole game until the last five minutes of the last quarter,” Young said. “They just pulled away.”
The final score was 51-43. VIU was the top tournament seed and Camosun was seeded second.
Quest University Kermodes won gold and Capilano University Blues took silver.