The Vernon Panthers overcame an early deficit and surged late to brush back the Kalamalka Lakers 68-47 at the Okanagan Valley Senior AA Girls Basketball Championships Friday night at Vernon secondary.
Kal came out hard to take a 13-12 lead after the first quarter, but the Cats responded in the second half.
“They seemed to have more energy and wanted it a little more then we did for the first half,” said Bobby Mitchell, who co-coaches the Cats with Lonny Mazurak.
Vernon’s top scorer was Brit Walton, with 25 points and five rebounds, while Emily Kanester supplied 18 points, eight boards and eight steals, and Michelle Smith added 11 points and six rebounds.
“We settled down and pushed our lead to above 15 late in third and then held on for the win. The score doesn’t do the game justice; it was a lot closer than this,” said Mitchell. “Hats off to the Kal team. They played great. We were very proud of our girls for sticking together and finding a way to win.”
On Thursday, the Lakers surged in the fourth quarter to upend the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton 52-50.
Maggie led throughout the game by as many as eight points, but with five minutes remaining and down by five, Katie Rogers hit three of her team-leading 13 points to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 45- 42.
Kaelyn Parmalee, Amanda Lewis and Tori Chabot ran off the next three hoops to put Kal up for the first time in the game.
Meanwhile, Amanda Sakamoto canned 13 points as the Fulton Maroons fell 70-45 to the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops Friday night.
The Maroons trailed 34-28 at the half, and couldn’t recover against a strong Sa-Hali team.
Fulton got 11 points from game MVP Kelsey Thompson and 10 points from Tavia Lochhead
Said Fulton head coach Jim Inglis: “My kids were game and with some luck might have led at the half.
“Down 15 after three (quarters), I emptied the bench early when it was apparent we were gassed and Sa-Hali continued to press, resulting in the big spread.
“In the end their size just wore us out. We did the things we wanted to but couldn’t account for the second half turnovers (18). Losing those possessions and giving those big girls extra chances was more than we could overcome.
Sakamoto overcame a cold start by delivering a game-high 23 points as the Maroons opened Valleys Thursday by swatting the Oliver Hornets 73-68.
Fulton, who led 37-30 at halftime, got 18 points from Thompson and 13 from game MVP Lochead.
“This team has been dealt some tough cards lately with injury and the flu and I’d like to take some credit, but it was the kids. Their character tonight just blew me away. They just refused to give in,” said Inglis.
“Amanda, Tavia and Kelsey played their hearts out but so did the rest, whether they played three minutes or 36 (Lochead).”
Karlee Webb didn’t score much but had an outstanding first half with eight rebounds.
Grade 11s Melissa Silva, Danika Serafin and Ty Souque did a bit of everything and Grade 10 call-ups Hana Ouchi and Danielle Olson played some critical minutes and handled their nerves very well.
“Two very evenly matched teams and tonight we just outlasted them,” said Inglis.