VSS Panthers defend Okanagan Valley title
The VSS Panthers will open the B.C. Senior AA Girls Basketball Championships next Wednesday in Kamloops against the Caledonia Kermodes of Terrace.
The No. 2-ranked Panthers, co-coached by Lonny Mazaruk and Bobby Mitchell, won their second straight Okanagan Valley title by stuffing the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops 64-42 Saturday at George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country.
Tournament MVP Quinsy Leier recorded 14 points and seven rebounds for VSS, while Mary Rice flushed 13 points and Karley Fugel drained a dozen points and added 10 rebounds and five blocks. Rice and Fugel were chosen all-stars. Megan Prentice supplied six points.
“We got out to a great start leading 37-12 at the half,” said Mitchell. “We knew Sa-Hali would come back fighting so we talked about matching that in the second half and we were able to do that.
“As coaches, we are very proud of our team for the work they put in. The girls played hard and really took control of the game. We are all happy and excited but we now know it’s time to prepare for Game 1 at provincials and go from there.”
The Holy Cross Crusaders of Surrey go into the B.C. playdowns as No. 1.
The Kalamalka Lakers are seeded No. 14 after grounding the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton 68-40 for third place. The Lakers battle third-ranked St. Thomas More Knights of Burnaby in their provincial opener.
All-star Jordan Korol rung up 25 points for the Lakers, while Paige Ralston flushed 18 and Ann Stewart added 15.
“The team was inspired in the final,” said Laker coach Reni Dolcetti. “Their motivation was to secure a third-place finish and a trip to provincials by winning this game.”
Kal earlier Saturday held off the Fulton Maroons 58-48. Korol sank 14 points, while Stewart had 13 and Kaelyn Parmalee added 10. Danielle Olson of Fulton was an honourable mention all-star.
The Maroons, who only had seven players due to injury and illness, earlier defeated Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops 52-41 after falling 71-69 to the Mustangs.
Emma Miller canned 20 points against the Mustangs, while Meranda Silva had 13, Samantha Ferrier netted 12 and Olson had 11.
The host Kelowna Christian Knights claimed the Valley senior AA boys crown with a 96-82 victory over the South Okanagan Hornets of Oliver.
The Fulton Maroons went 1-2, brushing back the Westsyde Whundas of Kamloops 65-45 Saturday morning and then falling 71-68 to Maggie.
Tye Kitzman dialed up 18 points in Fulton’s win, while Austin Richardson and Riley Beauchamp each added 14.
Coach Dale Olson played his entire bench evenly versus the Mustangs, with Beauchamp and first-team all-star Mike Rouault each pocketing 16.
The VSS Junior Panthers earned a B.C. berth, March 6-9, at Vancouver College, as the No. 2 Valley seed after losing 56-42 to host Valleyview.
“We just ran out of gas,” said Cats’ head coach Glenn Garvie. “The score was tied at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but we were spent physically and emotionally.”
John Garvie (105 points in three games) was named tournament MVP.
The Cats surprised the Okanagan Mission Huskies 60-53 in the semifinals after dropping three games to the Huskies earlier this season.
Garvie drained a jaw-dropping 48 points despite being double teamed for the majority of the game.
The Panthers used stingy defence and stellar execution to beat the Huskies.
“The other starters – Zac Kronbauer, Kyle Ryder, Ty Thomas and Spencer Shaw – were a big part of the victory and preserved the win when John fouled out in the fourth quarter. Two Grade 9s, Jakob Marshall and Gabe Turner, also contributed when called upon.
“As with many teams that win in big games, these boys are special. They refused to give in. Four of the starting five were on the Junior boys football team that made it all the way to the provincial semifinals against much bigger and stronger teams.”
The Panthers began the Valleys by icing South Okanagan 44-33.
In Grade 8 girls playoff action Monday night, Fulton upended VSS 45-36 in the North Zone final.
Taryn Kreeft led the Panthers with 11 points and six rebounds, while Megan Wiebe racked up five points, nine boards and three blocks and Brianna Falk earned six points, four steals and three blocks.
VSS ambushed the Carlisle Panthers (Tappen/Salmon Arm) 65-9 in the semis.
Fulton qualifies for the provincials, March 6-9, in Pitt Meadows.