Riverside Rapids and the Elgin Park Orcas -- two perennial senior girls high school basketball powers -- collided for the 22nd time in the last five years Saturday.
This time, it was the Rapids' turn to persevere.
Laiken Cerenzie canned 16 points as the Rapids prevailed 57-54 over their South Surrey rivals in the championship game of the Bob Carkner Memorial Classic tournament in Steveston. The modest point-difference was a tad surprising, given the Rapids entered the event rated No. 3 in the B.C. AAA poll, while the Orcas came in unranked.
"All Elgin/Riverside games are battles," offered Rapids head coach Paul Langford, whose quick, under-sized squad blitzed Richmond's McMath Wildcats 72-34 in their opening affair before blasting the Van Tech Talismen 82-46 in the semifinals. "We were terrible shooting the ball [against the Orcas] and, when that happens, we're in big trouble."
Denise Spacek was the only other Rapid to score double digits in the final, draining 13, while Natalie Carkner and Katie Woo netted nine and eight points respectively for the winners. Carkner was named tourney MVP, while Cerenzie and Woo were chosen to the all-star unit.
Against Van Tech, Carkner paced the Rapids with 18 points, followed by 15 from Spacek and 14 from Woo.
Versus McMath, Michelle Spacek led Riverside by tossing in 18 points, with Carkner adding 16 and Megan Sherwood 10.