The Vernon Secondary School (VSS) Panthers boys basketball teams dominated over the weekend, securing crucial victories on both the senior and junior side.
For the seniors, Friday was Senior Night, and the Panthers came out swinging, dispatching the Sa-Hali Sabres from Kamloops 78-57. Austin Dunnill got the party started early, draining a couple of triples, as the team rolled in front of a raucous crowd.
On Saturday, a similarly dominant performance went the way of VSS, as the trio of Mekhi Mitchell, Horatio Andow and Terry Johnson led the team to a definitive 73-54 win over the South Kamloops Titans.
Next up for the seniors is a Friday night bout against crosstown rivals W.L. Seaton Sonics. A victory there would put the Panthers in second place for the league.
The junior boys were victorious as well, defeating the Salmon Arm Secondary Golds at the North Zone championship in a defensive 40-38 affair.
The Golds put up 80 points in the semifinal against the Clarence Fulton Maroons, but were stymied by a great game plan from VSS coach Mark Zaino, leaving few uncontested looks for the Golds.
Jonah Petrone scored on a baseline inbound pass from Jonah Lee with two seconds left to put VSS up for good. No team led by more than five at any point throughout the game. Jordan Herrington led all scorers with 13 points, while Petrone dropped eight, including the game winner.
The victory was a crucial one, giving the Panthers the first spot in the North Okanagan Zone and the right to host the Valley Championships. Valleys will take place this weekend, Feb 17-18.
VSS will face off against the South Okanagan Hornets from Oliver in the opening game on Friday at 1 p.m. The Hornets finished second in the South Okanagan Zone.