Morning Star Staff
No matter who VSS Panthers head coach Lonny Mazurak sends on the floor, they get the job done.
The talent-rich Panthers proved worthy of their No. 5 provincial senior AA girls basketball ranking by going 4-0 in their annual PIT Classic.
VSS rallied to stop the No. 9 Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna 78-62 in Saturday afternoon’s marquee match of the seven-team, round-robin.
OKM came out with great intensity and pace to lead 22-14 after the first quarter, but VSS answered with a 27-12 second quarter and led by six at the half.
VSS kept rolling in the second half as they started with a 14-2 run and never looked back. Kristy Fugel scored all 15 points during the mid-game surge.
“OKM pushed us with their pace and intensity as it took a quarter-and-a-half to match it, but once we kicked it into gear we were very good,” said Mazurak.
Anna Rice and Jessica Melvin each chipped in with 13 points and Megan Rouault sank a dozen.
The Cats finished by ambushing the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops 68-18 Saturday night behind 18 points from Jordyn Cullum. Rouault drained 15 points, while Rice pocketed 13.
“Overall a good weekend for the girls as we learned that the group can hurt their opponents on the scoresheet a variety of ways,” added Mazurak. “The depth of this group offensively shines on the scoresheets. The weekend also gave us some things to work on in practice.”
The Fulton Maroons split their Saturday games, losing 77-38 to the NorKam Saints before icing the Sabres 45-30.
Andie Kaneda rang up 11 points, while Mackenzie Morin fired 10 in Fulton’s loss. Nicole Olson canned 14 and Cayleigh Graham had a dozen as the Maroons stuffed Sa-Hali.
The Panthers won the the Westsyde Winter Classic Grade 8 Boys Basketball Tournament, bouncing the Brocklehurst Broncos 72-25 in Saturday’s final.
Point guard Zack Smith led the Cats by pocketing 20 first-half points (25 overall) to go along with 12 steals. Isaiah Ondrik chipped in 20 points, while Liam Reid and Ryan Ponipal added 10 each.
“We came out firing on all cylinders from the opening tip of the tournament and never let up the whole weekend,” said VSS head coach Sean Smith. “I was very impressed with our consistent defensive intensity and ability to find the open man on offence. We started to see a lot of sagging defences to protect the key and we were able to hit 10 threes in the final to counter that which was encouraging this early in the season.”
The Panthers reached the final by taking down the host Whundas 68-12 in their opener sparked by Smith (19 points) and Ondrik (10
VSS dispatched the Shuswap Phoenix 61-20 in the semifinals.
The Panthers opened the league season Monday night by brushing off the Len Wood Extreme of Armstrong 99-10.
Smith drained 21 points and Kevin Morgan added 16.