Coach of NVSS Senior Girls Basketball
It has been a long gruelling journey for the Nechako Valley Viqueens, who started training a week after their disappointing loss in last year’s zone finals that left them on the outside looking in at their Provincial Championship dreams.
“As a team we vowed that this year was going to be different,” said Mueller. “We committed as a team to work hard and to get better and to prove that we were worthy provincial contenders.”
The Viqueens did more than that. A week after the 2015 season ended, we were back at it: 7:00-a.m. workouts until the end of school, and then into summer training, and through to the fall and right up to basketball season.
“That is a a sign of commitment and determination,” said Mueller, “And that determination and hard work paid off at the 2016 AA girls Provincials in Langley this past week.”
The girls went 3-1 to capture fifth place — one place higher than their ranking going in.
“I call this group ‘The Heart Break Kids,’” said Mueller, “Because of the number of heart-stopping gut check wins we had this year. This group had no quit in them, no matter who their opponents were; we never backed down and certainly never quit until the final buzzer went off.”
This never-quit attitude was quite apparent in all 4 of our games this week in Langley.
Game 1 featured a first round matchup #6 ranked Viqueens against #11 Belenas Senior Secondary off of Vancouver Island.
“This was a slow start for us, as both teams traded baskets, until the fourth quarter, when the Viqueens finally woke up and took a strangle hold on their opponents. It was like somebody just turned on the light switch. It was like night and day,” said Mueller, “We cruised through that fourth quarter with little resistance on route to a 82-65 win!”
Kassidy Dick lead the way with 21 points while Katie Verduzco kicked in 17.
Game 2 featured a rematch against # 3 ranked Seycove Secondary from North Vancouver.
“This team beat us fairly convincingly 3 weeks ago,” said Mueller, “So we had a pretty good idea what we were up against. They started two girls 6’2” and had some decent shooters.”
The Viqueens were ready this time, as the first half was a seesaw battle that saw Seycove go into the break with a eight-point lead.
“It was the third quarter that really hurt us,” said Mueller, “As we missed several easy baskets, and they answered back spreading the gap.”
The girls made a mid-fourth-quarter run but fell short losing a hard fought battle 72-59.
Kassidy Dick once again led the way with 16 points and Sydney Andres kicked in 12.
“Game 3 was crazy,” said Mueller. After that very tough Seycove game, the girls came out tired and sluggish, which allowed Holy Cross to jump out to an early 21-point lead.
“I told the girls it was time to unleash the attack dogs — that’s what we call the multiple full court presses that we use,” he said. “It was potty in motion, as our relentless pressure simply overwhelmed Holy Cross, and that 21-point lead evaporated in one quarter. We out scored them 23-0 in the third quarter.”
Holy Cross was unable to respond, and eventually the Viqueens won 58-63.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a press dominate the way it did in that third quarter,” said Mueller. “It was amazing.”
Jordan Andres spearheaded the attack with 20 points and six steals, while sister Sydney and Kassidy Dick kicked in 12 apiece.
The win put the girls into a collision course with Vernon Secondary — a game that would prove to be yet another exciting game, as the Viqueens downed VSS earlier in the season with a dramatic come-from-behind victory in overtime.
This game was no different, as two tired teams slugged away at each other like two heavy weight boxers in the 12th round. For three quarters neither team seemed to be able to take control of the game. With about 6 minutes to go the Viqueens slapped on a weary, but highly effective press, that saw them go on a 10-0 run that allowed them enough cushion to hang on for a weary 63-58 victory.
“It was a gutsy win once again from the girls,” said Mueller, “A fantastic finish to a great season.” Jordan Andres once again led all scorers with15 points and eight steals, followed by Sydney Andres, with 11 and Kassidy Dick with 10.
Overall it was a great season the girls finished 28-9. Congratulations!