Charlotte Palmer scored 29 points as the Kwalikum Secondary School senior girls basketball team trounced visiting John Barsby of Nanaimo 56-25 to push their winning streak to four straight at KSS Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Allie Proctor added seven points and Serena Dewal and international student Maika Okubo of Japan had six each in the victory, which followed a much closer, 36-35 win at Timberline Secondary in Campbell River two nights earlier.
“That was a very physical game,” Kondors coach Dave Frampton said. “(Timberline) is a big, physical team. It was kind of a strange game; we gave up an 11-point run and still managed to win.”
The Kondors also managed the win at Timberline playing without Palmer and two injured seniors, veteran forward Katie Haines and 5-11 post Gabby Oliver, who turned an ankle in the team’s opening game of the Port Alberni Totem tournament a week earlier.
Kwalikum dropped its Totem opener to host Alberni Jan. 11, then won each of their next two tournament games to place fourth in the girls division before sweeping their Mid-Island AA league games against Timberline and Barsby.
With Haines and Oliver still out of action, the Kondors suited just eight players for Thursday’s home game, including two international students, Okubo and fellow Japanese student Yuki Miyajima. A Grade 12 student, Miyajima hadn’t played basketball since her middle school years, and was talked into trying out for the Kwalikum program by Okubo.
For her part, Okubo has played plenty of basketball in Japan. But the 5-foot-5 guard, the second-shortest player on the Kondors roster, had been a post player her entire career. Still, she has proven an adept ball-handler and is particularly effective at employing defensive pressure on the perimeter.
“Before I came here I never do this,” Okubo said of her new role bringing the ball up the floor. “I was always a post player. The girls here are so much bigger and more physical,” she said.
Miyajima does not typically log as many minutes, but has proven a valuable addition as a smart and likeable teammate, Frampton said.
“The other girls just love her,” he said. “Any basket she makes is always the highlight of the game.”
Miyajima, who once stunned teammates by draining two three-pointers in one game, did raise cheers from the Kondors bench with a second-half basket Thursday. Rhiannon Terpstra added four points and Sequoia Bevilaqua chipped in a pair.
Jocelyn Powell scored 11 points and Emily Dinh added 10 to lead the visiting Bulldogs.