As the high school basketball season begins to wind down, the Vernon Secondary School (VSS) Panthers have been on a tear recently, which culminated this week with a ranking of No. 10 in the provincial standings.
After winning the Immaculata Sweet 16 Tournament in Kelowna in late January, the Panthers finished up their regular season with a 2-1 showing at the Holy Cross Tessa tournament in Surrey over the Feb. 4 weekend.
Game 1 on the Friday had the Panthers do battle with Port Coquitlam’s Riverside Rapids. Despite starting off strong, they would eventually falter in a 43-39 loss. VSS’ Paige Lahey was the team’s player of the game.
Game 2, the second of the day, would be another tough matchup, this time against last year’s Jr. Girls champions, the Seaquam Seahawks from Delta.
VSS made easy work of the Seahawks, cruising to an emphatic 51-19 victory.
Saturday morning, the team finished out the tournament with a victory over a gritty Notre Dame from Vancouver. The 44-25 win was led by relentless pressure from Charlotte Schommer and Isla Jolly. Adie Janke was named player of the game for her offensive performance.
Next up for the Panthers, they will play host to the North Valley Zone Championships this weekend, with a spot to the Okanagan Valley Championships on the line.
Due to a strong performance this year from the Panthers, and other teams from the Okanagan, the region was awarded an extra bid for provincials.
“The next two weeks will give us a clear picture as to where we stand as a team and how we match up provincewide,” said Panthers head coach Warren Cullum. “This part of the season is always the best because all the hard work is paying off, and to be recognized is great. These girls deserve the recognition they have fought hard for all season.”