It was an all-Vernon final in the season opening 57th annual Okana-Quen Senior Boys Basketball Tournament in Oliver.
Glenn Garvie’s Vernon Panthers got the best of Dale Olson’s Fulton Maroons 68-60 in the championship.
“The game was close throughout the first half with numerous lead changes,” said Garvie. “No one was getting an advantage of more than three or four points.”
VSS went on a 7-0 run to end the first half with Thomas Hyett hitting a three at the halftime buzzer to put the Cats up by five. Fulton erased the five point lead shortly into the second half and again it was back and forth. With the score tied at 58, the Panthers got ahead by four with a minute remaining and Fulton fouled to stop the clock. However VSS continued to make the free throws and won 68-60.
Leon Schenker was the difference for the Panthers, playing virtually the entire game, scoring 25 points and making four free throws at the end of the game.
Ike Olson had 16 points and 15 boards for the Maroons while Caden Doyle had 22 points and Nate Banga added 13.
VSS advanced to the final by beating the host South Okanagan Hornets 74-40 (Schenker with 21 points) in their opener before dispatching the Mt. Boucherie Bears of West Kelowna 80-44. Jaden Parsons was VSS player of the game with 21 points.
“The entire team contributed to both these wins with everyone playing meaningful minutes,” said Garvie.
Fulton, ranked No. 2 in the B.C. AA pre-season poll, opened with a 75-64 win over the Penticton Lakers behind 24 points from Banga, 13 from Doyle and nine points and 10 boards from Ike Olson.
The Maroons dispatched the Immaculata Mustangs of Kelowna 83-42 in the semifinal as Banga popped in 23, Hunter Krieger added 12 and 11 rebounds and Ike Olson had a dozen points and 14 boards.
Fulton travels to the G.W. Graham tournament in Chilliwack this weekend before heading to an event at Jasper Place Secondary in Edmonton the following weekend.