They battled the best hard and ended up fourth in the province.
It was sweet satisfaction for the VSS Panthers despite losing 76-40 to the Holy Cross Crusaders Saturday in the B.C. Senior AA Girls Basketball Championships bronze-medal game in Kamloops.
The Crusaders entered the Sweet 16 ranked No. 3, while the Cats were No. 10. The top-ranked Brittania Bruins of Vancouver won the B.C. title with a 69-61 win over the second-rated Lambrick Park Pride of Victoria.
“Holy Cross really controlled the game from the start, but there was no lack of effort from the Panthers as the girls left it all on the floor,” said Bobby Mitchell, co-coach of the Panthers alongside Lonny Mazaruk. “We are very happy for Holy Cross as they deserved the win and overcame a lot of adversity this season. Hats off to them.”
Top VSS scorers were tournament all-star Quinsy Leier, with 13 points and eight rebounds, Karley Fugel, with eight points and eight boards, and Mary Rice, with seven points and five assists.
“This was a remarkable run for the team during the playoffs as we played six teams in the top-12 and went 4-2,” added Mitchell. “The girls worked so hard and deserve the fourth-place finish. They really trusted us as coaches and stuck with the game-plans and played as a team.
“We are extremely proud of this group. A special thanks to all the Panther alumni who came and supported us during this stretch run and also to Grade 8 coaches Dave Tetrault and Jenna Hunter who took time out on their way to and from Grade 8 provincials to support the senior team and join us on the bench for two games.”
The Sa-Hali Sabres, who went in ranked No. 5, finished seventh, brushing back the Wellington Wildcats of Nanaimo 60-52.
Karin Li of the Bruins was named MVP. Becky Fernanzen and Jilliane Vina represented Britannia on the all-star team,