Morning Star Staff
The Fulton Maroons and VSS Panthers will represent the North Zone as No. 1 seeds in Okanagan Valley Senior Basketball League playdowns this week.
Dale Olson’s crew took the Zone senior AA boys playdowns at Fulton by ambushing the Kalamalka Lakers 86-54 Saturday night.
Michael Rouault flushed 31 points while earning 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Maroons, who got 21 points from Tye Kitzman, 10 from Cory Ang-Hamilton and eight from Riley Beauchamp.
Ajay Jhajj pocketed 16 points for the Lakers, while Alwien Dippenaar canned 13 and Lucas Ross drained a dozen. Fulton ran up an early 19-7 lead and rung up 18 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Fulton hosts and opens the Valleys against No. 8 Summerland Rockets Thursday at 3:30 p.m., while Kal goes in sixth and meets No. 3 South Okanagan Hornets at 7 p.m.
“The boys are playing very well right now,” said Olson. “This should be the toughest Valley that we have had in a long time. The semis should be awesome basketball. We need to get some of the boys back and healthy just in time to make a good run.”
The Seaton Sonics rallied to clip the Pleasant Valley Saints 67-66 Saturday for the third Valley berth. They, however, have dropped out of the tournament due to injuries. PVSS will replace them and open Thursday at 8:45 p.m. against No. 2 Westsyde Whundas.
The Sonics were down by a deuce to the Saints with 14 seconds left when Matt McEachran Law somewhat politely interrupted his coach/father Charlie Law during a timeout, asking for the ball to make a winning trey.
Law calmly dribbled down court, stepped back, and drilled the winning three-pointer with seven seconds left.
McEachran-Law calmly dribbled down court, stepped back, and drilled the winning three-pointer with seven seconds remaining.
PVSS had a chance to win it with two seconds left but missed shots and Seaton grabbed the final rebound.
“It was a total team effort again for Seaton who played with a roster of six and had to overcome the loss of their only big forward as Brent Matterson fouled out early in the third, leaving 5-foot-8 Adam Motyer to play inside,” said coach Charlie Law. “Motyer responded well, playing great defence and chipping in 13 to support the offence.”
Added Law: “Grade 9 callup Cheng was sensational, using his quickness to penetrate and get to the hoop and the free throw line. Cheng converted three and ones and finished with 20, the same total as McEachran-Law, who came out hot draining 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter, before being double teamed and shadowed the rest of the game.
“Ben Kornelson, as always, was a huge force for PVSS, dominating the glass and flushing 13 for the Saints. Junior call up Brayden Wiebe looked very poised for PVSS canning 15, including three treys.”
Tyson Ringdal and Brady Soderman each collected 14 points for PVSS.
In the senior girls playoffs, it was the Panthers smothering host Fulton 84-30 in the final.
Jordan Cullum returned from injured reserve and scored the first six points for VSS, who got clutch minutes from all of their bench which was down to eight bodies due to injuries to Jordan Korol and Kristy Fugel.
Karley Fugel sank 22 points for the Cats, while, Cullum added 18, Megan Prentice dialed up 14 and Anna Rice, Dayce Knopf and Jessica Melvin each pocketed 10. Megan Johnson chipped in with nine..
AJ Jacura led the Maroons with 11 points, while Brittany Skrenek contributed six.
The Cats, coached by Lonny Mazurak and John Keeley, open the Valleys Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at Princess Margaret in Penticton versus the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops.
Said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller: “Congratulations to Vernon. They are simply better than us in all facets of the game. We had a good first quarter but their talent took over.”
Scheller said it was the Maroons’ finest showing, in three tries, against the Cats.
“Fiona Anderson stepped up and played her best game of the season. I liked the effort and hustle of Brittany Aeichele from the second quarter on. Sam Orr stepped up and played solid defence for us, and hustled all over the court. Cherish Ayers also played hard and had her best game of the season.”
Fulton tangles with the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops in their Valley opener Thursday at 3:45 p.m. The top three teams from the boys and girls playdowns advance to provincials, March 5-9, at the Langley Events Centre.