The Camosun Chargers women’s basketball team, which missed the playoffs the past four seasons, finished second in the Pacific West Athletic Association.
The Chargers were defeated 75-70 by the Capilano Blues in the conference championship game Saturday night at the championships in Nanaimo, hosted by Vancouver Island University.
Capilano advances to the Canadian colleges national championship tournament. But that could do little to take away from the Camosun College turnaround experienced this season under rookie head coach and Victoria-product Cait Haggarty, who, as a player, was a U Sports national champion with the UBC Thunderbirds.
Two veteran players who shared in the revival were fifth-year Ella Goldschmid and fourth-year Aija Salvador, who both came out of retirement to play for Haggarty. Both guards, who were members of the Chargers’ last winning team in the 2013-14 season, had been dealing with serious injuries.
“The idea of playing basketball this year was a bit of a long shot with the timing of my knee surgery,” said Goldschmid, who was named most outstanding player of the conference championship game Saturday. “But when I heard that Cait was going to be the coach, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to at least try.”
The Chargers came into the playoff tournament as the fourth seed after the regular season and beat the Columbia Bible College Bearcats 73-57 in the quarter-finals before upsetting the top-ranked Douglas College Royals 71-63 in the semifinals to advance to the conference championship game for the first time since 2009-10.
Camosun Chargers men’s basketball coach Scot Cuachon has led his squad to fourth spot in the conference. Langara College of Vancouver defeated Camosun 82-71 in the Pacific Western bronze-medal game Saturday night at VIU as Matthew Nelson scored 14 points for the Chargers and Matthew Hampton 13.
The host and top-ranked VIU Mariners, who were 17-1 in the regular season and defeated Camosun 91-60 in the semifinals, were playing Douglas College in the late-finishing men’s conference championship game.