The girls basketball program at Vernon Secondary will get on the bus to Surrey Thursday for their annual trek to the ‘Tessa Tournament’ held at Holy Cross Secondary.
The tournament is named in honor of former Holy Cross player Tessa Beauchamp, who bravely battled cancer through high school eventually losing her fight at age 18. Tessa was a highly skilled basketball player and inspiration to all those who lives she touched.
” It is a huge honour to be part of this tournament. All the tournament fees are donated to the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation for cancer research. The referees donate their time as well as all the minor officials. It’s a special place to play and a VSS tradition to attend,” said VSS senior coach Dave Tetrault.
All three Panther girls teams – Grade 8, junior and senior – will kick off the tournament Friday morning playing the host Crusaders in a triple header.
“This is a great opportunity for our program to cheer each other on and create lasting connections as teammates,” said Tetrault. “With 44 teams at the tournament, it is a huge event that our kids look forward to as the trip to begin a run to the playoffs.”
For the senior Panthers, the biggest game will take place Saturday morning when they face the No. 1 AA-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas Saints of North Vancouver.
“They are obviously very talented and well-coached,” said Tetrault. “We are playing our best basketball of the season so we hope to give them a very competitive game.”
The Panthers are currently ranked No. 8 AA and finished the weekend winning their home tournament with victories over the Westsyde Whundas of Kamloops, the Mount Boucherie Bears of West Kelowna and the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops.
The Panthers beat Westsyde Friday morning, 85-45, led by player of the game Kelsey Falk’s 38 points. Sarah Butler had 10, while Sarah Crerar, Kelsey Watts, Emma Baycroft, Emi Durfeld, and Ashley Budgen all had six apiece.
Friday night, VSS mauled the Bears 76-60. Player of the game Crerar had 11 points. Budgen had 19 while Falk had 21. Point guard Kelsey Watts was a defensive force and added 13 points on offence.
Saturday morning, the Cats played their most complete game off the season beating Valleyview 75-48. Player of the game Budgen had 22 points while Falk had 19. Crerar had 15 points while Watts and Butler had seven.
” It was awesome to see our defensive intensity pick up. We are playing our brand of basketball with great defence and scoring from all our players,” said Tetrault. “It has been fun to watch.”
SEATON SHINES IN SWEET 16
The Seaton Sonics junior girls basketball team was on a roll this past weekend and came in fourth out of the 16 teams at the Immaculata Sweet 16 Tournament in Kelowna.
The Sonics came out strong with a 45-38 win over the Semiahmoo Totems from White Rrock in their first match Thursday evening. Game MVP Abi King kept the Sonics in the lead with strong ball control and rebounding.
Next up, the No. 13 Summerland Rockets, who the Sonics lost to earlier in the year. On Friday morning, Seaton immobilized the Rockets’ top shooters, opening the way for a 50-43 sonics win. Alassa Johnson was game MVP with 14 points and was instrumental in driving Seaton’s offence.
Advancing to the semifinals, Seaton played second-ranked Kelowna Owls. The Sonics held their own against the talented Owls but eventually lost 74-46. Game MVP was Iseult Colclough, who paced the Sonics with 24 points.
In the bronze-medal game, the Sonics were up against the No. 11-ranked KLO Cougars of Kelowna and were tight in the game when, in the middle of the second quarter, injury took out Johnson. The Sonics battled the rest of the match and kept the game close with Jordann Scott earning game MVP with an outstanding all around effort.
The Sonics also represented Vernon well in the Friday night skills competition with Colclough and King winning the two-ball shooting event.
“We are very proud of how the girls came together as a team, never gave up and left everything they had on the court,”said Seaton coach Chris Colclough.”The girls learned a lot and we hope to keep this momentum going into the last weeks of league play and into the playoffs.”