The UBC Okanagan women were looking to repeat as provincial champions and be the third Heat varsity team to do bring home a gold medal from the BCCAA in the 2010/2011 season but fell just short. In an exciting final the Heat came up on the wrong end of the score as they fell to the Capilano Blues 68-67 in front of a raucous crowd Saturday night in Abbotsford at Columbia Place.
The Heat jumped out quickly and grabbed a 22-13 lead after the first quarter as they were able to establish a quick tempo and force the larger Capilano team to play at the Heat’s pace.
The second quarter the Heat were able to extend their lead to as many as 11 points in the second quarter until the Blues started to establish BCCAA player of the year and All-Canadian, Jessica Franz inside and closed the gap; yet the Heat led the Blues 35-31 at the half. The Heat’s own All-Canadian, Jenna Kantz led her team at the half with 10 points, while Franz countered with 9 points for the Blues.
The third quarter saw the Heat extend their lead to 9 points as their high pressure defense led to bad shots from the Blues and transition baskets for the Heat as they shot 64% from the field in the quarter and could have likely shot even better as several good opportunities just rolled off the rim. Within the last four minutes in the quarter the Blues were able to cut the Heat’s 9 point lead to just 4 again as the Heat went into the final frame leading the Blues 54-50.
The fourth and final quarter was unlike the previous three as neither team had a lead larger than the Heat’s 4 points to start the quarter. The fourth frame saw 7 lead changes and 3 ties as both teams fought to the final second before a winner would be decided. The Heat held the lead for the first three quarters but 30 seconds in to the fourth the Blues would have their first lead of the game, 56-54. Roz Huber scored 4 straight points and then Jenna Kantz scores her 18th and final point of the game to put the Heat back up 4 with 7 minutes left. The Heat were unable to score for the next three and a half minutes and Jenna Kantz commits her fourth and fifth fouls to be forced out of the game with 3:49 left to play and the score 63-60 for the Blues. Roz Huber scores a 2 on a nice baseline jumper and Melissa Irish hits on three to push the Heat back into the lead, 65-63 with 1:30 left. The lead was short lived as the Blues immediately come down the floor and guard Jennifer Palmer scores a three on her own to return the Blues to a 1 point lead. Both teams picked up the intensity until an Ashley Briker offensive rebound leads to a Melissa Irish field goal that puts the Heat up 1 with 7.7 seconds left to play. The Blues call a timeout and inbound the ball in the front court and then Jenna Ralston banks a left hand shot in traffic to put the Blues back up 1 with 3.6 seconds left. The Heat pass the ball in but the defending champions could not repeat as they were unable to get a shot off in their final possession.
After the game a very emotional team received their silver medals as Roz Huber and Jenna Kantz were both named to the tournament all-star team and then met for the last time in uniform together where coach Semeniuk looked at her emotional players with so much pride and said, “you girls left it all on the floor, not only are you really good basketball players but you are also really good criers and that is a good thing.”
For the game Jenna Kantz finished her career with another great stat line; 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Roz Huber was a force of nature with another double double notching 16 points and 13 rebounds. Veteran point guard Melissa Irish came up big in the final with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
A heartfelt coach Heather Semeniuk was extremely proud of her girls and how hard they played and how the captains took such a strong leadership role on this team. “The captains [Kantz, Huber and Irish] came up to me before the tournament and asked if they could bring the team together before the game. What those captains did was just such a good example of leadership, they brought them all together in one of their hotel rooms for about a 20 minute meeting a few hours before the game and they would discuss all of the things that needed to be done to be successful in the upcoming game.”
This will be the last game for the Heat women’s basketball game and wraps up the career of fifth year guard Jenna Kantz, who adds her fourth provincial medal to her mantel.