DCSS Winter Classic winners

Jr. girls' basketball team wins the Bert Bowes Winter Classic in Fort St. John on Saturday

The Dawson Creek Secondary School junior girls' basketball team is 4-0 for the season after going undefeated at the Bert Bowes Winter Classic in Fort St. John on Saturday.

After defeating Clearview, Bert Bowes #1 and Bert Bowes #2 in round-robin action, DCSS advanced to the final where they took on the Clearview Colts again for first place on Saturday afternoon.

It was a close game, with the score tied 16-16 at half, but DCSS eventually pulled ahead in the fourth to win the game 34-23.

"We feel good," said coach Troy Erickson after the win. "It was good feedback for where the girls are at and the things we need to work on. It was also a first game experience for the season, too, so it's good to see where the girls are at.

"The new girls really improved on their skills from the first game to the last game of the tournament."

With the original tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday, DCSS' bus couldn't travel in the extreme temperatures on Friday and the eight boys and girls' teams were forced to pack two days of play into Saturday.

"It was the cold weather and transportation liability stuff, we couldn't travel so we had to cram everything into one day," Erickson explained. "We left at 6:30 in the morning and will get back at 8:30 at night, but it's a good day.

"It was a lot of basketball in one day, so definitely endurance was a huge part of it this early in the season. They've got a lot of work to do on that yet."

This year's junior girls' team is made of a mix of last year's core and a lot of new faces as well, all who came together this Saturday for the team's first tournament of the year.

"Everyone has their clique [coming in], so we're trying to form into one team," Erickson said. "Everyone's wearing one jersey, everyone has a role and we just really want to focus on that and have everyone play their best.

"We're proud of the girls. All of them showed up and really wanted to play. They put all of their pressure on the court which is what we wanted to see."

Saturday's final against the Colts didn't come easy, despite DCSS beating Clearview earlier in the day. Going into the third quarter DCSS only had a four-point lead on the Colts. To put even more pressure on themselves, DCSS took five fouls in the fourth to give Clearview an opportunity to close the gap.

"As our first tournament it was the nerves and everything," Erickson said. "They're aggressive, which we like to see, but it's turning it into clean defence rather than a hack fest.

"I've got to give them credit," he added about the Colts. "They played a very intense game and really pressured our girls, so our shooting percentage was down significantly from our other games just because of the pressure on the shooter. That's good, the girls need to experience that pressure and force them into quick shots and clean shots."

Up next for DCSS' jr. girls will be an after school game against Tumbler Ridge and hopefully another regional game to get the girls more experience.

Overall the team is happy with their first tournament of the season, and the coaches are looking forward to seeing more growth down the road.

"It's a good feeling," he said. "The girls had a lot fun, and they had a lot of energy for their first tournament."

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