Mitchell Pepper flushed 26 points as the VSS Panthers brushed back the Kalamalka Lakers 78-74 in North Zone Senior AA Boys Basketball League action Wednesday night in the Panther Pit.
Shelby Hartwig dialed up 21 points and a dozen rebounds for the Cats, who are coached by Mike Sawka. Andy Hladik and Matt Forsythe each recorded eight points and 10 boards.
The teams came out slow, but the pace picked up midway through the first half with VSS holding a 35-33 lead at the break.
The second half remained close right down to the final minute with VSS draining a pair of free throws with five seconds to go.
Ajay Jhajj was unstoppable for the Lakers with 36 points, including nine buckets from the Okanagan Landing Subway.
In other league play, the Seaton Sonics ambushed the visiting Pleasant Valley Saints of Armstrong 82-41.
Matt McEachran-Law collected 27 points and Kuup Peters sank 24 for the Sonics, while Noah Ufimzeff continued his improved play in the paint with 10 and Luke Harrigan added eight.
After a week’s absence, Peters returned to the Seaton lineup and scored 16 first-half points.
Sam Fennell and Devan Pipke each rung up 11 points for Pleasant Valley.
The Sonics enter the Christmas break at 1-2 in league play, and will prepare for the Valleyview tourney in Kamloops, Jan. 3-5. They are also entered in the Kal classic, Jan. 18-19.
Meanwhile, the Fulton Maroons lost 86-66 to the Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton in their Thursday opener of the Pen-High Lakers senior boys classic.
Mike Rouault, a 6-foot-4 guard, led the Maroons with 25 points before getting into foul trouble in the third quarter. Austin Richardson, a 6-foot-4 forward, canned 18 points.
“We led through the first three quarters,” said Fulton coach Dale Olson. “I have to develop my (three) Grade 10s and they struggled today. We’re going to have growing pains, but I like our team. They can score, run and defend. Some days, you get what you get. We’re good now, but we’re going to be really good after Christmas.”
The Maroons, who have just four Grade 12s, went up against the Chilliwack Frontiersmen Thursday night in the six-team tournament.
The Maroons senior boys alumni games go Saturday. Registration begins at 10 a.m.