Charles Bloom T-wolves in triple heaven
The Charles Bloom Timberwolves completed a sweep of three separate North Okanagan basketball championship finals Saturday in Lumby.
The Bloom junior boys squad started things by winning the Tier II Junior pennant with a 63-31 win over the Salmon Arm Golds.
Bloom came out strong, opening up an early 10-0 lead on the backs of Grade 10 guards Peter Ufimzeff and Brett O’Rourke, who created havoc in the full court early in the first quarter.
The Golds, coming off of an earlier upset of Kalamalka Lakers, battled back by slowing the pace and using strong half-court defence to close the gap to six points at the half.
Ufimzeff led the T-Wolves with 24 points, while Tom Dyck contributed 14 along with strong physical defensive play, and O’Rourke dropped a dozen points.
After a short break in the action, the Bloom senior A girls earned a 41-39 victory over the A.L. Fortune Falcons in the North Zone final.
The Falcons led by seven with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Bloom closed out strong with a full-court press and outscored Fortune 19-9 in the fourth quarter, including an 11-2 closing run.
“This was a gut-check win for our team tonight,” said head coach Nathan Lee. “We struggled for much of the game, but man did we battle hard in the last five minutes.”
Seven of the eight Bloom players hit the scoresheet, led by Shannon Baetschmann with 12 points, Shelby Bauml with eight and Jessica Fraese with seven, including two clutch late free throws.
The Bloom senior A boys completed the sweep with a 79-50 win over the Eagle River Talons.
Bloom started on a 15-3 run and led buzzer to buzzer behind a monster offensive game from Pat Michaud, who dominated inside and out, dropping four three-pointers and showing great touch inside on his way to a 29-point performance.
Guard Mathias Wuggenig dropped 15 and eight of the 10 Bloom players hit the scoresheet.
“The guys came out strong in the first half in front of the home crowd,” said T-Wolves’ coach Mike Verhage, who was the starting point guard on the last Bloom North Zone winning team in 2005. “We were able to shoot the ball really well which opened things up inside for our big men.”
Meanwhile, the VSS Panthers warmed up for the North Zone senior AA girls playdowns starting Friday at VSS by splitting their last two games at the Tessa Beauchamp Memorial Tournament in Surrey.
The Panthers brushed back No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints of Burnaby 67-57 Saturday night after losing 73-40 to the host No. 1 Holy Cross Crusaders.
Sage Blundell drained 16 points as the Cats grounded the Saints, while Quinsy Leier had 15, Jenna Marrion canned 11 and Karley Fugel added 10.
With 1:07 left and VSS up by one point, Mary Rice recorded a key steal which led to a Blundell trey, sparking a 9-0 Panther run.
Against Holy Cross, it was Leier sinking 11 points and Ashtyn McKenzie earning seven.
The Panthers open the Zones Friday, 4:45 p.m., against the Pleasant Valley Sinners, at VSS.