Good vibes to start the season for Rebels girls program

As an unranked team in a highly-ranked Tsumura senior girls Invitational basketball tourney, the Burnaby South Rebels have only to fly under the radar.

They nearly emerged with a bang on opening day Wednesday, when the senior girls 4-A team battled No. 10-rated Lord Tweedsmuir hard before falling 78-64.

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It came down to two Panthers, sisters Alyza and India Aikins, who accounted for 58 of their team’s winning total. Pacing Burnaby South with 13 points, including four from three-point range, was Zyre Aspiras.

The Rebels are looking to make more headway on the local Burnaby-New West circuit. Last year's 5-1 regular season record provides a good starting point inwhich to take the next step, new coach Cody Cormack said.

“We are coming together slowly as a team, and still have a long way to go. The girls are extremely committed this year and we are confident that with some additional game experience and more practice time we will be one of the stronger teams in the province,” Cormack said in an email. “We have a core of strong grade 12s consisting of Laini (Glover), Awek (Deng), and Zyre – (and) we have some great depth from the grade 11s and should be just as strong next year.”

Their second-round opponent today (Thursday) at the Tsumura tourney is Earl Marriott.

Last week, they kicked off league play with a close 75-69 setback to undefeated Burnaby Central.

In the season-opening Big Ticket tourney, the Rebels  rebounded from a Day 1 53-41 loss to top-10 ranked Panorama with wins over Collingwood (64-50) and North Surrey (62-57). Against Panorama, Deng counted a team-high 10 points, while Glover cashed in nine.

Joining the senior squad in its run of positive vibes has been Burnaby South’s junior girls squad, which has chalked up a tourney title and two league wins.

Beating both Burnaby North and Burnaby Central this week showed the team in strong mid-season-like form.

It was a low-scoring affair on Tuesday, when the Rebels toppled the Vikings 29-18, getting 15 points from Cassandra Cabillan and eight by Erika Sunga.

A day earlier, the South siders stopped the Wildcats 55-19, led by Sophie Quilatan's 22 points.Cabillan chipped in 15 points.

The wins were just a continuation of solid results, after the junior Rebels carted off the Killarney Cougar Classic tourney title last week, beating Templeton 37-13 in the final.

Cabillan was voted the tourney MVP.

To advance to the final, the girls stopped the hosts 42-32, with Cabillan nearly pulling a triple-double. She scored 16 points, corralled 10 steals and added nine boards. Teammate Kailey Cheung chipped in 13 points and five steals, while Quilantan scored seven points.

Burnaby South launched the tourney with a 51-15 win over Windsor, paced by Cheung’s 19 points and Cabillan’s 16 points and eight steals.

This came after they recorded some solid results at the St. Thomas Aquinas tourney, including wins over Notre Dame and York House. They topped the Jugglers 53-41, with Cheung tallying 18 points, Sophie Quilatan, with 17, and Vashti Sarmiento, with 11. Against York House, the Rebels prevailed 41-40.

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