Tigers Place 3rd in Telus Basketball Classic

York House star Alisha Roberts (left) is defended by Handsworth guard Elisa Homer Friday during Telus semifinals at Churchill. (Ric Ernst, PNG)HANDSWORTH 84 YORK HOUSE 82

by Howard Tsumara, The Province

VANCOUVER — Someone forgot to tell Lizzy Hamlin she was supposed to be nervous.

The Handsworth Royals Grade 11 guard might have been the smallest player on the floor Friday afternoon when the North Vancouver school clashed with Vancouver’s York House Tigers in the semifinal round of the Telus Basketball Classic at Sir Winston Churchill.

Hamlin stepped up to the free throw line and sank five of six from the stripe in overtime, drawing contact with her gutsy inside play as the Royals rallied back from a 13-point third quarter deficit to upset the No. 3-ranked Tigers 84-82.

“Lizzy was money at the line,” said Handsworth head coach Scott Palmer. “That kid has come so far. Last year she would have been trembling to shoot those free throws.”

Hamlin’s made free throw with 4.2 seconds left in regulation had put the Royals on top 71-68, but a major gaffe was committed by a Handsworth player who fouled York House Alisha Roberts who was driving in for a basket as the clock wound down.

Roberts, who finished with a game-high 30 points, made the bucket to make it 71-70, then hit the ensuing free throw with no time left on the clock to send the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Roberts was her explosive self, and her driving layin with 1:47 remaining had put the Tigers on top 82-78.

From that stage, however, the Royals rose up defensively and somehow found a way to win.

Fighting for loose ball, Hamblin knocked down four straight free throws as part of Handsworth’s 6-0 game-closing run. She and teammate Elisa Homer hit one free throw each to put the game out of reach.

“This team has been amazing,” said Palmer, after his team rallied from 14 down on Thursday to win its quarterfinal against New Westminster. “We dig holes for ourselves but we never quit. These kids find a way to pull it out.”

Homer, the long and athletic Grade 11 guard, was outstanding throughout, scoring a team-high 25 points, including four treys. Senior wing Jamie Hills added 21 points, and point guard Abi Dixon 16 points.

Laura B. had 15 in a losing cause for the Tigers while Cherub L.added 13 and Mira D. 11.

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