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No. 2 Burnaby Central Wildcats fall in provincial semifinal to Riverside

Burnaby Central will play Yale for bronze in the 2023 AAAA senior girls' provincial championships.

The second-seeded Burnaby Central Wildcats will play for bronze at the provincial championships after losing 58-46 to the Riverside Rapids (Port Coquitlam) Friday night (March 3) in the AAAA girls' semifinal. 

The Wildcats will face number-four-seeded Yale (Abbotsford) at the Langley Events Centre tomorrow (March 4), who lost its semifinal match to the top-ranked Walnut Grove Gators, 68-55. 

The Wildcats jumped out to a 16-14 lead after the first quarter before going into the half down 31-29. 

The Rapids took over in the third frame, holding a 47-35 advantage heading into the fourth and didn't look back, exacting revenge after losing the Fraser North final to the Wildcats.

Guard Jade Huynh led the Wildcats with 18 points, while guard Ankita Chopra added 15. 

"Our girls played all out," Burnaby Central head coach Chris Ducharme told the NOW in a post-game interview.

"We just couldn't get the shots. And credit to Riverside, they played harder because they took a loss last time against us, so they had to adjust and we just couldn't get the shots we wanted. Whether it was nerves or Riverside's defense, or maybe what we did, we just couldn't get the shots." 

Despite not heading to the championship, Ducharme thinks the Wildcats will be prepared for the bronze medal match — the final game of the 2022-23 campaign. 

"I always tell the girls, they already put in the work to get here, live or die with the results," he added. 

"I think they'll be fine. They'll sleep on it and they'll be ready to go and it'll be a battle.

"Yale's a tough team. They get after it and they have some shooters just like we have some shooters, so we'll see how they play and we'll have to make adjustments to it." 

The Wildcats and Lions will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

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