The Cowichan Thunderbirds — with MVP Emma Dewit and all-star Jazmine Charles in the front row — celebrate winning the Duncan Christian School Welcome Back Tournament last Saturday. (Submitted)

The Cowichan Thunderbirds — with MVP Emma Dewit and all-star Jazmine Charles in the front row — celebrate winning the Duncan Christian School Welcome Back Tournament last Saturday. (Submitted)

T-Birds tops at DCS girls’ Welcome Back hoops tournament

Emma Dewit named MVP, Jazmine Charles an all-star

The Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds knocked off the Alberni District Armada 43-33 to take first place at Duncan Christian School’s Welcome Back senior girls basketball tournament last weekend.

All-star Jazmine Charles paced the T-Birds with 17 points and tournament MVP Emma Charles added 14, while Player of the Game Joelle Antufeaff grabbed 11 rebounds and chipped in with two points.

“We are very proud of the girls for their teamwork this weekend,” said Wendy Charles, who coaches the team along with Val Chambers. “It was a tough and aggressive final against Port Alberni but the girls came ready to play.”

Gabby Larminay also came up big in the final, playing tenacious defence that led to at least two jump balls for the T-Birds in each quarter.

Cowichan beat Ladysmith 58-41 in the first round, then defeated Kwalikum 56-44 in the semifinals.

Dewit was a consistent performer for Cowichan, scoring 28 points against both Ladysmith and Kwalikum, while Jazmine Charles poured in 18 and eight, respectively. Antufeaff and fellow post Julia Cutt both provided excellent rebounding for the T-Birds throughout the tournament, and Cutt averaged three blocked shots per game.

“All of our players contributed this weekend, and it was a team effort all the way,” Wendy Charles said. “It is great to see them come together as we head into the integral part of our season.”

Shawnigan Lake School finished third at the tournament, beating Kwalikum 53-33 in the bronze-medal game, with Tatum Hayhurst taking Player of the Game honours. Milena Jojic was Shawnigan’s representative on the all-star team. The host Chargers lost the ninth/10th game to Ucluelet 58-40, getting 14 points from all-star Jenna Bakker and four from Player of the Game Ebonie Elliott.

DCS opened the tournament with a 67-39 loss to Shawnigan, despite Bakker’s 14-point outing. They also lost 53-33 to Ladysmith, with both Bakker and Jaymie Brandsma scoring 10.