Kwalikum Kondors senior girls basketball team opened their season with an impressive 81-16 win over the Ladysmith 49ers on Tuesday night.
Olivia Panichelli, one of the team’s captains, had a big game, netting 22 points to lead the Kondors with Mia Brohl contributing 16 points and Liesl Domes 14.
“It was a fantastic start to the season,” said assistant coach Bree Stutt, who added that the Kondors team has a full roster of 14 players that compete in the AA North Island League that include Ladysmith, Highland, Shawnigan, Brentwood and Gulf Islands.
“We had five players who moved forward from last year and nine players who played in the juniors or elsewhere,” said Stutt. “They’re looking really great. We really got a deep bench. We’ve got some really skilled players which is excellent. We’re not wearing out anyone else out there and so it’s really looking like a promising team. So we’re excited.”
Maya Sailland, the other captain of the team, is also very hopeful this season. She’d love to see the Kondors make it all the way to the provincial championships.
“The team is a committed and hard-working group,” said Sailland, who scored five points in the season opener. “Achieving our goals will take a lot of hard work, not only in practices but in individual skill development. Liv and I are putting in the extra hours and so is the rest of the team. As a captain I’m working to make sure everyone is not only working hard but having fun doing it.”
The Kondors head coach is Dave Frampton. The team consists of Lyla Wilson (forward), Ana Daisy Hayley (guard), Emma Scheel (forward), Domes (forward), Peyton Yochim (guard), Brooklyn Urquhart (forward), Sailland (guard), Maya Willis (guard), Brohl (forward), Panichelli (post), Meaza Sanders (guard), Pyint Johndee (guard), Sequoia O’Neill (guard), and Aurora French (post).
To continue honing their game, coach Frampton has scheduled the Kondors to play in several tournaments.
Last weekend, the Kondors competed in the 29th Annual Victoria Christmas Invitational Tournament. They had an impressive start scoring two solid wins against North Delta and Eric Hamber from Vancouver.
The Kondors advanced to the semifinals where they battled hard against the provincially ranked AA St. John Brebeuf Sceondary from Abbotsford losing by just two points. In the battle for third and fourth, the Kondors took on AAA Centennial Centaurs, who had two six-foot-four players. The KSS girls competed hard but ended up losing 53-47 to finish fourth overall.
“The dedication and perseverance of the team was phenomenal as they faced off against well established teams from across B.C.,” said Stutt. “This tournament brought the team together as one and provided incredible learning and growth setting the team up for a solid season.”
The Kondors look forward to their league games and will take part in one of the longest-running basketball tournaments in British Columbia, the Alberni Totem Tournament slated for Jan. 5 to Jan. 7.