The further the Vernon Panthers went, the tougher it got at the B.C. Senior AA Girls Basketball Championships in Kamloops.
The No. 10 ranked Cats bowed 77-45 to the No. 1 Britannia Bruins of Vancouver in semifinal action Friday afternoon.
“The No. 1 team in the province was just too much for us on this day, despite playing right with them for almost two quarters, and even having a two-point lead with six minutes to go in the half,” said VSS co-coach Bobby Mitchell.
Britannia found another gear and took a 14-point into the break and never looked back.
“Their speed and depth was very difficult to manage for us, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort,” said Mitchell. “The kids played extremely hard and never quit right to the last whistle.
Game Star Mary Rice led the Panthers with 14 points and five assist, Quincy Leier had seven points and six rebounds, and Jenna Marrion added six points.
“Again, we are very proud of the effort this team showed today. They left it all on the floor, although they were disappointed they are also excited to play for a bronze medal Saturday versus Holy Cross (Crusaders of Surrey).”
In quarterfinal play Thursday, the Panthers got a huge 26-point effort from Game MVP Sage Blundell to clip the Seycove Seyhawks of North Vancouver 71-59.
“The girls came out and played inspired basketball today and controlled most of the game, taking a 28-23 lead at the half,” said Mitchell.
“We simply out worked Seycove in this game, we made everything very difficult for them which helped us advance to the final four.”
VSS extended that lead to nine points midway through the third quarter, but Seycove trimmed it down to two before the break. Vernon rallied behind Blundell, who canned 15 of her 26 points in the final quarter.
Rice chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds and Marrion added a dozen points.
“To make the final four is great for this team. Our playoff run has been simply outstanding, the team has really come together and not let anything get in the way of their focus.
Mitchell credited veteran Bailey Limb, the lone returnee this season, for keeping the Cats on task throughout the season.