In the first of the girls’ semi-finals, Carson Graham Eagles came out hard and even-keeled with BC's #1 ranked Walnut Grove Gators. With 6 minutes left in the first, Gators were up one. A steal by the Gators, and then a turnover, resulted in their one point lead unchanged. Gators zone defence proved challenging for Carson-Rowell, #11 for the Gators, would steal the ball and go all the way for a tough made lay-up. The Gators were up 5 with 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. A floater by Gator's #5 took them up 7. Metcalfe for Carson would go to the line to shorten Carson's gap to 5. Carson's full court press would slow the Gators down but not prevent a three from #10. With just 5 seconds left on the clock in the first quarter, Carson drew a foul sending #7 to the line. Going 0/2, Gators would win the first quarter 19-14.
Out of the gates in the second quarter, the Gator's zone defence caused a Carson turnover but they couldn't capitalize on it. Carson continued to full-court press into the second quarter, but a pair of free throws for Gators #9 would take them up 7. Carson remained scoreless several minutes into the second quarter thanks to #11 Tavia Rowell's full-court defence and seemingly impossible successful layups. Gators would go on a 10-0 run to start this quarter, halted by a Carson timeout followed by a lay-in by Carson's #11 Metcalfe. A nice high-low sequence from Metcalfe put Carson within 13 of Walnut Grove, while a 3 from Carson's fitting #3 would bring them within 10.
The pace of the game wouldn't slow as the clock dwindled in the first half, with both teams fast breaking. Carson's #3 would again pull up for a jumper countered by Gator #10's field goal. #3 Walker's shot for Carson would continue to stay hot, helping the Eagles come within 7. A coach's technical from the Gator's bench would send a shooter to the line for Carson. Score at half time: Carson 30-WG 37.
Halftime: time to ponder - Exactly what is a gator? And, if it is short for alligator, do they have them in Walnut Grove?
Carson opened up with a field goal followed by a steal; Metcalfe would drain another from the field bringing them within 4 of the Gators. Carson refused to back down from the feisty team in green. With 5 left to go in the third, Carson would find a hole in the Gators’ defence, keeping within reach of a possible lead. Gator's #11 Rowell, however had other plans. Her continuing to drive the basket in tough situations was impressive to say the least, although no one else seemed surprised - it's just what she does.
Matched turnovers from each team would keep the Eagles down 9 with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter. Carson's zone defence, with a little help from their boys’ team chanting from the stands, saw Carson continue to trail Walnut Grove, but the lead didn't increase past 9 as Metcalfe hit a field goal. Some sloppy play, to the Gators’ advantage, had Gators up 57-46 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Gators’ biggest lead of 12 with 6 minutes to go in the game. That didn't quiet Carson's bench as their enthusiasm continued throughout the quarter. Back and forth play mid-way through the fourth quarter kept W-Grove up 11. With 4 minutes to go, the Gators saw their biggest lead, helped by Rowell's long three, with a score of 72-56. Walnut Grove's press late in the game would cause problems for the Eagles but wouldn't stop Metcalfe from scoring an easy one under the hoop. Carson appeared to tire in the last couple of minutes, which the Gators took advantage of. Finally Walnut Grove would take off late in the fourth, winning 86-62.
Coming from the biggest school in Langley, it was surprising to see Walnut Grove with such a small bench, but the 8 Gators got the job done today-despite Carson Graham not backing down. See Walnut Grove play in the final Saturday at 3:45pm at Collingwood.