The hard-luck host team darn near got shutout at last weekend's Top-Ten Shootout.
Key injuries, untimely breakdowns and, above all, first-rate competition relegated the Centennial Centaurs to but a single victory in four games at their prestigious senior girls high school basketball tournament.
Having entered the 16-team event ranked No. 10 in the AAA provincial poll, the Cents finished a lowly 11th after falling 78-67 to the honourable-mention Maple Ridge Ramblers in their wrap-up game Saturday.
Prior to that, the Cents bowed 90-87 Friday to the No. 5 Handsworth Royals of North Vancouver after getting clobbered 87-43 earlier in the day by Victoria's Claremont Spartans, who came in polled No. 6. The Cents' lone win came on opening-day Thursday, when they edged their pesky, unheralded Coquitlam rivals, Gleneagle, 63-59 after the Talons were a late fill-in for the No. 9 Kelowna Owls, who got sidelined back home due to poor weather and travel conditions.
The No. 2 W.J. Mouat Hawks of Abbotsford bounced the No. 1 Brookswood Bobcats of Langley 68-54 in the championship game, with Mouat's Kayli Sartori nabbing tourney MVP honours.
"It was a tough weekend with outstanding competition," said Centaurs head coach Rob Sollero. "I was hoping our results would have been better [but] it was typical of how we have been playing. We have been very competitive with the top teams, but we are falling a bit short."
Recent injuries to two key players, Cassie Sparvier (broken foot) and Rebecca Dingle (torn ACL), have left centre Shayna Litman -- who was selected as a tournament honourable mention -- and point guard Lauren Sollero to shoulder most of the scoring, with two-way support coming from Olivia Aguiar, Shanice Fuoco-Guy, Amanda Reid and Nicole Medic.
Rob Sollero is hoping the Cents' fortunes do a quick turnabout with intense Fraser Valley North AAA league play on the immediate horizon.
"I thought we were totally out-played in the Claremont game, however, we rebounded with two solid games against Handsworth and Maple Ridge," he said. "Both games could have gone either way. We just could not come up with the needed defensive stops and key rebounds late in both games.
"We need to continue to work on our defence and mental toughness in order to improve."
Gleneagle, meanwhile, handled Abby's Yale Lions 52-37 and Victoria's Oak Bay Breakers 41-39 on the consolation side before being humbled 60-36 by North Van's Carson Graham Eagles to finish ninth.
After Mouat and Brookswood, the top-eight finishers, in order, were Claremont, the No. 4-ranked Argyle Pipers, Handsworth, Carson Graham, the No. 8 Kitsilano Blue Demons and Maple Ridge.