Viqueens squeeze past Vernon Panthers

Vanderhoof’s Nechako Valley Viqueens edged the Vernon Panthers 56-53 to finish 5th at BC AA girls basketball finals in Langley

Vanderhoof’s Nechako Valley Viqueens edged the Vernon Panthers 56-53 to finish fifth at the B.C. AA girls high school basketball finals in Langley.

The Panthers ended up sixth in the 16-team affair.

“It was a very tight game for three quarters as both teams played great defence and struggled to score,” said VSS coach Lonny Mazurak. “We had the ball at half and the girls executed very well to get an open look at a three but rimmed out at the buzzer.”

Game star Anna Rice had 14 points while Jessica Melvin and Megan Rouault had 10 points each for VSS, who played without an injured Jordyn Cullum. The Panthers star injured a knee in a quarterfinal loss to Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Knights and missed the rest of the tournament. Brianna Falk, who was selected to the provincial all-star honourable mention team, chipped in nine points for the Panthers.

Cullum was one of five players to earn a Telus scholarship.

The top-ranked Duchess Park Condors of Prince George defeated No. 3 Seycove Seahawks of North Vancouver 81-70 in the championship game.

The VSS Grade 8 girls finished 12th at the provincial championships in Pitt Meadows, as Mike Bertram’s Panthers went 1-3.

“We played excellent defence all tournament long only allowing one team to score more than 26 points,” said Bertram. “The girls showed they could step up against any team in the province.”

The Panthers beat Duncan’s Cowichan Thunder 21-9 with Kelsey Watts leading the scoring with six points. Courtney Durward added four. Levi Knopf played excellent defence.

The Panthers opened with a close 26-23 loss to the Argyle Pipers of North Vancouver. Watts and Ashley Budgen had six points each while Anne Cherkowski added four.

The Prince Rupert Rainmakers jumped out to a 22-2 lead and went on to beat VSS 47-36. Budgen had 10 points, Callie Bertram added nine and Watts had seven for VSS. Megan Claeys played great defence, Emma Eggert attacked the hoop well, Livia Kowalski battled hard under the hoop and Kaylee Goodrich had some great back-door cuts which led to good scoring chances.

The Panthers wrapped up provincials with a 26-22 loss to the Dunsmuir Dragons of Colwood (near Victoria). Bertram led all scorers with nine points and Stephanie Cardenas had seven. Grace Cornell played strong defence, Gabby Boyd rebounded well and Taija Kronbauer battled hard against bigger opponents all game long. The team expressed a big thank you to Quinsy Leier for her help coaching.