MVP Schuurman leads Flames to championship glory


After four years of heartbreak, it was jubilation on Saturday afternoon for Chilliwack’s Unity Christian.

At the past four BC School Sports 1A Girls Basketball Provincial Championships, the Flames have watched as the other team has celebrated winning their sports top trophy. To add salt to the wound, the victor each time has been one of their biggest rivals, the Credo Christian Kodiaks.

On Friday, Unity Christian exacted a long-awaited measure of revenge, topping the Eastern Valley Athletic Association rivals with a 49-37 semi-final victory. And on Saturday afternoon in front of a boisterous crowd on Centre Court at Langley Events Centre, the Flames were 85-73 winners over Victoria’s Pacific Christian Pacers.

“Credo is always a mental block for us; we have been battling with them for years,” admitted Unity Christian head coach Kyle Smiens about his team’s lack of success against Credo Christian. “But I think we were hungry for this and we just had to re-focus for today.”

The first half was back-and-forth wit five lead changes and six times when the game was tied. The Flames would score the final four points of the half, however, for a 4-40 lead, and then opened the third with a 9-0 run and never trailed again.

Leading the way for Unity Christian was Miah Schuurman, the team’s 6-0 guard who is just one of two Grade 12s on the roster. Schuurman was unstoppable as she scored 26 of her 42 points in the second half. She also hauled in 21 rebounds, dished out three assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots to wrap up her high school career.

For her efforts, she was named both the Championship Player of the Game as well as the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

“Every game she does something special and then the next game, she tops that,” marveled Smiens. “She has a mindset of ‘I am going to take over when I need to.’ It is really nice to have her on our team.”

The Flames were the second seed of the 16-team tournament while the Pacers came in at No. 1. But Pacific Christian had no answer for Schuurman or the size of Unity Christian as the Flames outscored their foes 60-24 in the paint.

Grade 9 guard Kenna Friesen added 14 points while Grade 10 6-3 centre Brielle Vander Kooi had 11 points and 15 rebounds. Unity Christian decisively won the battle of the boards 73-45.

Pacific Christian was led by 34 points from Grade 12 guard Kealayna Tupas-Singh. She also had rebounds, four assists and six steals, winning the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.

Abi Ellison – who was a First Team All-Star, added 23 points for the Pacers.

Joining her as all-stars were Sir Alexander Mackenzie’s Ayanna and Annika Parr were First Team All-Stars alongside Unity Christian’s Kenna Friesen and Credo Christian’s Demi Timmerman.

The Second Team All-Stars were Claire Pasenau (Kelowna Christian), Iyra Puno (Immaculata), Morgan Eichenberger (St. Ann’s Academy), Colby Konig (Cedars Christian) and Kaylee Devries (Credo Christian).

And the Charles Bloom Timberwolves won the Barry Dearing Fair Play Award.

In the third-place game, it was the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Grizzlies defeating the Credo Christian Kodiaks 49-41 to win the bronze medal.