Morning Star Staff
Three teams ranked in the top-eight provincial poll highlight the annual VSS Panthers PIT Senior Girls Basketball Classic.
The Cats, coached by Lonny Mazurak and Dave Tetreault, join the Immaculata Mustangs of Kelowna and Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton as schools rating high pre-season ratings.
VSS opens the Classic Thursday night (7:30) against the Okanagan Mission Huskies and then tackle the Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops Friday (1:30 p.m.). Entry fee Friday is a loonie or a non-perishable food item which will all go to the VSS Christmas food drive.
The Panthers have six returnees from a season which saw them place sixth at the B.C. finals and claim the Okanagan Valley crown.
“Jordan Korol and Rebecca Salway are the only Grade 12s who will help lead a surprisingly experienced group of Grade 11s this year,” said Mazurak.
“We only have eight players this year but it is a real tightknit group who have already learned to play for each other. We are smaller than last year across the board but hope to make up with skill and smarts.”
The Fulton (AA) Maroons went 2-2 at the South Okanagan Hornets Senior Boys Tournament in Oliver.
Missing all-star Tye Kitzman (at B.C. Football camp in Vancouver), the Maroons fell 99-74 to the No. 1 Southridge Storm of Surrey.
Karanmeet Khatra rang up 20 points and three steals, while Brandon Isaac collected 18 points and five assists and Darrien Broomfield bagged a dozen points and eight rebounds.
In Game 2, the Maroons stopped the G.W. Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack 90-71 with Karanmeet netting 22 points and eight assists, Broomfield dialing up 21 points and 13 boards and Isaac earning 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Fulton then lost 83-63 to the No. 10 Pacific Academy Breakers of Surrey with Isaac pocketing 27 points and a dozen rebounds before leaving with a sprained ankle in the third quarter. Broomfield registered 21 points, 10 steals and seven boards, while Khatra had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Maroons closed the tourney by bowing 89-69 to the ninth-ranked Golden Golden Eagles with Isaac on injured reserve.
Khatra pulled down 19 points and 10 rebounds, while CoryAng provided 14 points and four steals and Noah Alleyne chipped in 10 points.
“It was a good weekend overall; we got to see all the top teams, besides the Island guys,” said Fulton head coach Dale Olson. “We are right there with them; we just need to get healthy and get the younger ones up to snuff. I’m real happy so far; they work extremely hard.”
The VSS Grade 8 girls lost 47-32 to the South Kam Titans to place second in the Sa-Hali tournament.
South Kam got 22 points from a stellar guard and lots of clutch play from a 6-foot-2 post who cleaned up the misses.
“The girls played good defence in the second half but were a little intimidated coming into the game,” said Panther head coach Mike Bertram. “Jessie Harman and Katie Peters did a valiant job trying to stop their big girl.”
Jaide Vanderleest led all VSS scorers with seven points, while Savana DeWitt had five and Sarah Crerar had four.
Brienna Condie, Ally Carter, Olivia Sawka and Bree Vanderleest played tough defence all weekend.
The Panthers stuffed the host Sabres 47-21 in their opener with Kelsey Falk draining 21 points.
“Kelse took over the game with her aggressive takes to the hoop and strong finishing,” said Bertram.
Emilia Durfeld was game MVP with eight points and six assists.
VSS then iced the Westsyde Whundas 40-17 behind 13 points from Falk and six apiece from DeWitt and Peters.
Abby Williamson took player of the game with four points and great defence while playing through a cut to her mouth from a flying elbow.