Vernon Panthers forward Sarah Crerar (with ball) goes up against Kelowna Christian School Knights defender Naomi Kent during the Panthers’ 25th annual Pit Classic Senior Girls basketball tournament at VSS. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Vernon Panthers fall to Huskies at Pit Classic

VSS senior girls go 2-1 at 25th annual basketball tournament

Vernon Panthers went 2-1 at their 25th annual Pit Classic Senior Girls basketball.

The No. 8-ranked AA Cats defeated the Kelowna Christian School Knights – ranked No. 2 in the province in the A Division – and avenged a one-point loss to Penticton in the final of the Knights’ season-opening tournament by beating the Lakers by 10.

The only blemish was a 75-69 overtime loss to the Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna, ranked No. 8 in the B.C. AAA standings.

RELATED: Vernon Panthers primed for Pit Classic

“We are focused on getting better every game,” said Panthers coach Dave Tetrault. “It’s great to play in front of a home crowd and clearly our kids enjoyed the support the parents, students, and fans gave our players. It was a great weekend of basketball.”

The Panthers opened in front of a large crowd made up of student body, teachers and parents Friday morning as they downed the Knights 78-41.

Kelsey Falk led the VSS scoring with 24 points, Sarah Butler and Ashley Budgen had 14 apiece while Sarah Crerar and Player of the Game Kelsey Watts finished with eight points each.

The premier match of the tournament went Friday night with the Panthers facing off against the Huskies. VSS led most of the way before foul trouble late in the game saw the Panthers lead slip away. Down by two with 10 seconds to go, Player of the Game Budgen slashed through the lane and hit an eight-foot bank shot to force overtime. Budgen finished with 28 points, Falk had 15 and Watts and Butler had seven each.

The hosts wrapped up the tournament Saturday by defeating Penticton 55-45. Falk had 38 points, Budgen had 10 and Player of the Game Emi Durfeld had seven in a stellar defensive performance.

RELATED: Panthers make it sweet six

Fulton Maroons went 0-3 at the Pit Classic.

Fulton dropped its opener in a game played at the Maroons’ gym, 59-36, to the Summerland Rockets. Paige Noakes was Fulton’s Player of the Game with 11 points. Chelsea Monahan added six.

The Westsyde Whundas stopped the Maroons 47-25. Tori Hauptman (nine points) and Noakes (seven) led Fulton scoring. Jacienda Heng was chosen Player of the Game.

Fulton finished with a close 47-41 loss to the Norkam Saints of Kamloops. Hauptman led Fulton with 14 points, and was chosen POG. Simran Bajwa and Nya Derkach had 10 points each.

The Maroons were guided by substitute head coach Mike Scheller, who filled in for Jess Kirkland, unable to attend due to work commitments.

“The girls played very hard every game,” said Scheller. “Defensively we were tough and rebounded well, despite our lack of height. Offensively, we improved every game, just need to find a little more scoring.”

The Maroons and Panthers meet in AA league play Wednesday at 8 p.m. at VSS, preceded by a junior girls game between the two schools at 6:30 p.m.

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Ashley Budgen of the Vernon Panthers (with ball) cuts to the hoop between Kelowna Christian School Knights defenders Abby Heinen (7, from left), Melissa Christophe and Kristin Naude during the Panthers’ 25th annual Pit Classic Senior Girls Basketball Tournament at VSS. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Jacinda Heng (5) of the Fulton Maroons drives to the hoop against Westsyde Whundas opponent Jamie Maartman during the Vernon Panthers’ 25th annual Pit Classic Senior Girls Basketball tournament at VSS. (Katherine Peters/Morning Star)

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