The annual Vernon PIT Classic Senior Girls Basketball Tournament has expanded to 14 teams with all the top AA teams in the Okanagan Valley.
Six of the teams are ranked in the top-15 in B.C., including the No. 4 Holy Cross Crusaders of Surrey (bronze at 2011 provincials) and the Princeton Rebels, a top-10 A school.
The Okanagan boasts third-ranked Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops, No. 8 VSS Panthers and ninth-seeded Oliver Hornets, all AA teams. The Kalamalka Lakers are an honourable mention in pre-season polling.
“The three Vernon teams all qualified for provincials last year and are looking to get off to good starts this year at the PIT Classic,” said Panther head coach Lonny Mazaruk.
“The young Panthers are led by their only returning player Bailey Limb. What this group lacks in experience will be made up with effort, focus and unity. Their attentiveness to detail is one of their strengths.”
VSS opens today at 10:45 a.m. against the Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna. Admission is a food item or a loonie with all proceeds going to the leadership Christmas hamper. The Fulton Maroons battle Princeton at 2:45 p.m.
Kal opens up in their gym at 12:45 p.m. against the NorKam Saints. The Charles Bloom TimberWolves tangle with the Summerland Rockets at 10:45 a.m. The final goes Saturday, 7:15 p.m., at the Panther Pit.
The Panthers warmed up for the Classic by grounding the visiting Revelstoke Rams 65-55 Wednesday night.
Twin towers Quinsy Leier (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Karley Fugel (19 points, 11 boards) led the Panther attack. Limb and Jenna Marion chipped in eight points each.
Meanwhile, the Charles Bloom boys finished third at the eight-team Ashcroft Junior Rams Invitational Tournament.
The T-Wolves (2-1) finished play Saturday by bouncing the Brocklehurst Broncos 50-45. Sebastian Galindo’s strong offensive play earned him player of the game. Peter Ufimzeff was the Wolves’ tournament MVP.
Bloom opened by cruising to a 56-22 win over Princeton. Ufimzeff earned Game MVP for a solid all-around showing from the point guard position.
The T-Wolves then bowed 50-20 to the Kumsheen Cougars of Lytton, having trouble with the Cougars’ zone defence. Tom Dyck earned player of the game honors by battling the bigger Kumsheen forwards hard.
The Bloom junior girls finished second in the four-team Valleyview Vikings Icebreaker Tournament in Kamloops.
Bloom controlled the boards and the play on the defensive end of the floor all game, holding the Vikes to eight field goals in a 39-16 victory.
The Lumby girls the iced NorKam 42-35. It was 31-31 after three quarters, with Bloom holding NorKam to four points in the final quarter.
“We have been emphasizing rebounding early in the season and it paid off for us against NorKam,” said first-year coach Carissa Morneau.
Playing without starting point guard Lisa Campeau in their final game with Dr. Knox of Kelowna, the T-Wolves struggled to get things going offensively in a 43-16 loss.
Campeau and Amy Verhage were named tournament all-stars for Bloom.
The Fulton Junior Boys Classic opens today with eight teams. The Maroons go up against the Golden Golden Eagles at 6:30 p.m. Other visiting teams include: Kelowna Owls, Valleyview, South Kamloops Titans, Penticton Lakers and Mt. Boucherie Bears. The final goes Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
The Baby Panthers fell 44-38 to Dr. Knox in Saturday’s final of the Wendy’s Classic Grade 8 Girls Tournament at VSS. Kristy Fugel flushed 32 points and Mary Rice pocketed 14 assists for the Panthers, whose player of the game was Courtney Becker.
VSS opened with a 35-15 victory over the George Elliot Coyotes of Winfield, getting 14 points from Fugel, six from Jessica Melvin and player of the game honours from Rice.
Fugel took game MVP as the Cats stuffed Sa-Hali 28-17 in the semifinals. Becker bagged eight points and Latisha Baker sank six.