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Burnaby Central Wildcats claw their way to AAAA girls' provincials bronze

After trailing for the majority of the game, the Wildcats were able to save the best for last.

Burnaby Central was able to bounce back from Friday’s (March 3) semifinal loss to Riverside, claiming bronze at the senior girls' provincial basketball championships.

The #2 Wildcats defeated the #4 Yale Lions (Abbotsford) by a score of 68-63 win this morning (March 4).

It's the first known medal for Burnaby Central in the girls' AAAA division since 1948. 

Ankita Chopra led the Wildcats with 21 points, including 11 in the fourth, while Jade Hyunh contributed 19. 

The Wildcats fell behind early, with Yale going on a 7-0 run to open the game, forcing head coach Chris Ducharme to call an early timeout just over two minutes into the game.

Huynh got Burnaby Central's first bucket, knocking down a three-pointer to dig into the lead and kickstart the Wildcats' offense.

After trailing by as much as 10, the Wildcats were able to cut the deficit to three, trailing 19-16 after the first quarter. 

The Lions started to pull away in the second quarter, going up 31-20 with just over five minutes left in the frame

Burnaby Central noticably struggled to find its offense and trailed 40-26 at the half. 

"Our war cry [at halftime] was you gotta shoot. We're not a passing team," Ducharme told the NOW after the win. 

"We're not a four, five, six, passes team. We're one, two, three and we're looking for a shot right away. So, the girls bought in and they understood what we needed to do." 

The war cry worked. 

In the third, the Wildcats came out with energy, tallying 17 points while holding Yale to nine and trailed by six heading into the final frame. 

With 6:40 remaining in regulation, Burnaby Central would come within two points, forcing Yale to call a timeout. 

Less than a minute later, Wildcats guard Jade Huynh nailed one of her four triples on the day to tie the game at 53. 

Then, with 1:54 to go, Jayla Huynh knocked down a clutch three of her own to give Burnaby Central its first lead of the game, 63-61. 

The Wildcats were able to play tough defense and score insurance points, holding on for the 68-63 win. 

"Our goal was number one. We were shooting for the moon and landed on a star," Ducharme said of the third-place finish. 

"We're happy. We're super happy. Our goal was to also finish better than last year, where we finished fourth."