Ranked fourth all season, the R.D. Parker Collegiate senior girls basketball team felt there was a real chance they could finish the season contesting for a title, but those dreams were dashed in Friday's semifinal as the University of Winnipeg Collegiate Wesmen bested the Trojans 67-62 at the AAA high school basketball provincials in Thompson.
RDPC had the ball with 8.9 seconds left after University of Winnipeg Collegiate missed a pair of foul shots but an errant pass would up in the hands of their opponents, though the Trojans got it back for one last-second heave that fell short and would have been too little, too late even had it not.
Down by 20 points at one point in the second half, RDPC drew within single digits as the Wesmen rested their starters.
The Trojans trailed 34-25 at halftime, with Janaye Tucker-Titanich leading RDPC with 12 points through the first two quarters, a tempo she upped in the latter half of the game, scoring 18 more to finish with a team-high 30 points and 18 rebounds, making her the second-highest scorer in the game, behind the Wesmen's Skylar Boulanger, who finished with 32 after dropping 18 first-half points. Sydney Clemons had 14 points for RDPC while Grace Fanhbulleh scored 12 for the Wesmen.
Trojans coach Sara Gillis said the game plan was to drive the ball inside in hopes of getting the 5'11" Boulanger and the equally tall Emma Arnott into foul trouble and off the floor, but it didn't work out as RDPC had hoped, with the Wesmen using the height advantage to block numerous shots early, a situation that led to the Trojans rushing open shots in the second quarter and failing to capitalize on decent looks at the basket.
The Trojans still have the opportunity to end their home tournament on a high note with a win in the third-place game on Saturday at 10 a.m. versus the St. Norbert Collegiate Celtics. Linden Christian beat the Celtics 82-77 in the other semifinal, led by Madi Kinzel's 21 points and 16 from Megan Neufeld. Paige Bevan had 32 points for St. Norbert, while Jessica Hunt ended up with 15.
The girls championship game will be played at 2 p.m. with the boys championship match between Westgate Mennonite Collegiate and the Nelson Wolverines concluding the tournament at 4 p.m. Linden Christian and Hapnot Collegiate Institute of Flin Flon will play in the boys consolation final while St. James and Neelin High School will face off for fifth place in the girls' tournament.