It was a short and not-so-sweet first trip to the postseason for the Quest University Kermodes women’s basketball team, which dropped its quarterfinal game to the Camosun Chargers 67-58 at Capilano University on Thursday (March 1).
Quest didn’t seem to have an answer for Chargers players Aija Salvador and Caitlin Marshall, who scored 25 and 21 points, respectively.
Despite the loss, Kermodes head coach Mike Woollard said he liked his team’s effort.
“It was definitely a close one,” he said. “I think we battled really hard and played very well defensively. I thought for much of the game we were the stronger team but we couldn’t make anything go.”
The Kermodes had a 16-12 lead after the opening quarter, but Camosun outscored Quest by 13 over the next two quarters to cruise to the win. Woollard said poor free throw shooting and missed easy baskets cost his team the game.
“We were in the high 70s or low 80s for free throw shooting on the year, but we shot under 50 per cent in the first half,” he said. “In the second half we shot a bit better, but that’s a lot of points to leave on the table. We probably missed 10 to 12 two footers and could have been up by 10 or 12 had we made them.
“It’s sad and frustrating to end our season that way, but we played as hard as we could. Give credit to them, they had two experienced players who were the two best players on the court.”
Quest’s bench came through for the team, as they outscored Camosun’s bench 32-14. Cassidy Osterling, who picked up 11 points in only 13 minutes, led the Kermodes. Woollard said he was thrilled with the play of rookie Kelsey Cooper and said she was likely the team’s best player against Camosun.
Woollard said he hopes the team can use this experience to move forward for next year. “Everyone was a rookie in the first playoff game,” he said. “I was a rookie, Dany [Charlery, assistant coach] was a rookie and I think if we can keep this group together, I’m excited. We’ve got some experience now and this is the first day of our journey for next year.”
It was a memorable season for the program, as it marked the first time a Quest team had finished with a winning record and qualified for the postseason. Woollard hopes to continue the momentum for next year.
“I think that every year we’ve been building and now we’ve finally got people to notice us,” he said. “We’ve created a locker room full of people that genuinely like and play hard for each other. We’re going to subtract some great veteran leadership next year, but people are ready to step in and I’m excited.”
Woollard pointed to three moments that stood out for him from the 2011-’12 campaign.
“Sweeping Langara was big, sweeping Kwantlen and Douglas was big but we took care of the teams we had to and we were in every game,” he said. “One of the moments for me was in the preseason when we beat Capilano and won their tournament. Another was against UNBC [Feb. 4] where we lost Kat [Sandbichler] to an injury and we could have folded our tents, but we stayed in the game until the end and gave them a scare. Lastly was our game against VIU [Feb. 18] where we played a nationally ranked team to eight points.”
He said the team will take a few weeks off and then it’s the start of recruiting season. Woollard will check out AA and AAA tournaments in B.C. and then move on to Alberta and Saskatchewan. For more information on Quest athletics, visit www.questkermodes.ca.