Vanessa Garcia of the Holy Cross Crusaders tries to block Callie Bertram of VSS Panthers in the opening game of the VSS PIT Classic Senior Girls Basketball Tournament Friday morning. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Falk explodes for Panthers

The VSS Panthers appear primed for another run to the provincial senior AA girls basketball finals

The VSS Panthers appear primed for another run to the provincial senior AA girls basketball championships.

Lonny Mazurak’s crew went 2-0 Friday in their annual PIT Classic at the Panther Pit, storming the Holy Cross Crusaders of Surrey 66-50 before grounding the St. Thomas More Knights of Burnaby 71-56. VSS takes on the No. 6 Westsyde Whundas of Kamloops in their final game of the round-robin tourney tonight at 5:30.

Mackenzie Horst rang up 19 points and Kelsey Falk canned a dozen as the No. 8 Panthers ambushed Holy Cross.

After some dynamic defence in the first half held Holy Cross to only 13 points, the Panthers struggled to get stops consistently in the second half letting Holy Cross back in the game.

Some key baskets by game star Horst and Falk and great hustle plays by Abby Willliamson, who chipped in six points, allowed the Pnthers to hold on to the lead.

Falk exploded for 44 points and Callie Bertram bagged seven as the Panthers held off St. Thomas More. It was a tight tilt at the half (30-29 for VSS) but VSS broke things open in the second half by an aggressive zone defence and one of the greatest offensive performances by a female Panther player in the history of VSS basketball.

“Coach T (Dave Tetreault) made a great call to use the zone in the second half and the fans were witness to something called the Falk show,” said Mazurak. “Kelsey attacked relentlessly, crashed boards, and made jumpers from all over the floor. She was not going to do everything in her power to get the win for her team.”

In other Friday action, the NorKam Saints stuffed the Fulton Maroons 78-61, the fourth-ranked Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna shelled St. Thomas More 72-39, the Pen-Hi Lakers upended the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops 69-46, the sixth-rated Whundas crushed the Rutland Voodoos 93-32 and Pen-Hi rocked NorKam 87-52.

Elsewhere today, Okanagan Mission meets Sa-Hali at 3:45 and Fulton battles Rutland at 7:25.

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