Entering the B.C. High School Senior Boys 3A Basketball Championships in Langley, the second-ranked Vernon Panthers hadn’t lost to a 3A team all season.
The Cats lost two games in Langley and finished out of the medals.
It was a disappointing end to a tournament, the Panthers had hoped they could reach the final for a second straight year, avenging a two-point loss to the North Delta Huskies in the 2019 gold-medal game and bring the city its first-ever senior boy’s basketball championship.
Instead, the Panthers ended up fourth, dropping the bronze-medal match, 68-65, to Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Tigers, less than 24 hours after VSS fell 50-49 in the semifinals to the eventual champion G.W. Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack.
First-team all-star Isaiah Ondrik, playing his final high school game, led VSS with 13 points against the Tigers while second-team all-star Zach Smith – also in his final contest – added nine.
In Friday’s semifinal, the third-ranked Grizzlies led for nearly three-quarters of the game but were down five to the Panthers late in the third before a back-and-forth final quarter which featured nine lead changes over the last 10 minutes.
Matthias Klim hit a baseline jumper for the decisive points as Vernon failed on their two subsequent possessions, falling one point short of a return trip to the championship game.
The Panthers were led by Ondrik’s 20 points and 11 rebounds and 10 points from Kevin Morgan.
VSS advanced to the final four by smothering Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Collegiate Knights 70-43 Thursday. Ondrik had 20 while Trent Charlton popped in 13 and Smith added 12 for the Cats.
The Grizzlies, who were five minutes away from not even qualifying for the provincial tournament in their regional playdown, upset the top-ranked Duchess Park Condors of Prince George 79-67. The Condors were trying to bring Prince George its second provincial senior boys basketball title in 40 years. Members of the 1980 championship Condors were at the tournament in Langley.
BC BOYS 2A
Vernon’s Fulton Maroons finished 11th at the provincial finals in Langley, two places higher than their 13th seeding.
After being blown out in their opening game by fourth-ranked Brentwood Bay of Victoria, the Maroons rebounded to stop the Surrey Christian Falcons 72-66 behind 29 points from Reyann Siddique, which included eight three-point shots. Drayson Truscott added 15 and Van Kozak chipped in a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Fulton then met Penticton’s Princess Margaret Mustangs in an Okanagan Valley final rematch, with the Mustangs winning again, 67-48. Truscott had 16 points for the Maroons while Siddique added 14.
In their final game, the Maroons outlasted the D.P. Todd Trojans of Prince Geroge 89-66. Siddique had 24 points, including six shots from the parking lot. Karan Malhotra added 17, Jason Dollevoet chipped in 14, Truscott had 13 and Kozak reached double digits with 12 points.
The Charles Hays Rainmakers of Prince Rupert won their second straight provincial title, downing the King George Dragons of Vancouver 67-45 in the final.
BC GIRLS 1a
For the second year in a row, the Charles Bloom Timberwolves of Lumby left the provincial tournament with hardware.
The T-Wolves and Fernie Falcons were named co-winners of the tournament’s Barry Dearing Award for Fair Play. Bloom won the award in 2019.
CBSS, ranked 16th for the 2020 tournament in Kelowna, finished in 13th place at the 16-team tournament with a record of 2-2.
The Timberwolves faced the defending champion Credo Christian Kodiaks of Langley — the top-seeded team who successfully defended their title, beating Unity Christian Flames of Chilliwack 84-83 in the final. The Kodiaks won 76-38. Jessica Verhage had 27 points for Bloom, who then dropped a 62-48 decision to the Maple Ridge Christian Hornets. Verhage had 18 for bloom while Hally Campbell added nine.
The T-Wolves got into the win column Friday with a 60-54 win over the King David High Lions of Vancouver (scoresheet not available on tournament website).
CBSS finished with a 60-54 win over Maaqtusiis Secondary of Ahousaht. Verhage fired in 18 points, Ellie Hymas chipped in 14 for Bloom and Jordan Andrews dropped in 11 points.