Jessica Lusk (left) of the Belmont Bulldogs battles for a rebound against Oak Bay’s Jude Cristante (foreground) and Georgia Alexander (right) in South Island AAA senior girls basketball tournament action at Belmont secondary. The top-rated Breakers won this game handily and beat second seed Claremont 53-47 in Saturday’s final to win the championship. The Bulldogs rebounded from the semifinal loss to defeat Mount Douglas 57-31 in the game for third and fourth places earlier in the day. Belmont opens the Island championships tomorrow at 5:45 p.m. against Vanier from Courtenay. For more on last weekend’s city tournament.

Home court Bulldogs wrap up spot in Island tournament

Belmont senior girls battle hard in city tournament

Saturday’s senior girls AAA city basketball final between eventual champion Oak Bay and Claremont may have gone the way it was supposed to at Belmont, but the warmup game provided plenty of highlights for the home team.

Claire Church and Jessica Thomsen, earlier named to the South Island all-star team, were forces to be reckoned with, leading the Bulldogs to a 57-31 victory over Mount Douglas in the third- fourth place game.

Church, battling illness much of the week, found her game, scoring 34 points to lead the locals, while the reliable Thomsen added 16.

The No. 3 South seed sees Belmont open the Island championships against Vanier from Courtenay tomorrow night (Feb. 18) at Claremont secondary.

Despite the fact Vanier won going away the only other time the teams met this season, at the Totem Tournament in Port Alberni in early January, Bulldogs coach Brad Lidstone likes his team’s chances.

“We’ve definitely gotten better. I like the progress we’ve made as a team from the last time we played them,” he said. “We have a lot of momentum coming out of this tournament taking third reinforces their confidence.”

Helping their development, he said, is the fact some players have been participating in the sports performance basketball class at the school.

Belmont reached the three-four game with a 45-25 win over Stelly’s on Saturday morning. The Bulldogs outscored the Stingers 37-11 in the second half, after a dismal first half for both teams saw Stelly’s lead 12-8. Thomsen led the Bulldogs with 16 points.

Last Thursday’s opening game saw Belmont beat Spectrum 47-45. The Bulldogs scored the winning basket with 13 seconds to play.

Lidstone credited Jessica Lusk for her standout defensive play, and guard Madison Bullen, the first four-year Belmont girls basketball player, for her heads-up efforts all weekend.

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