John Garvie of the VSS Panthers catches some air time defending against Riley Beauchamp of the Fulton Maroons Tuesday night.

John Garvie of the VSS Panthers catches some air time defending against Riley Beauchamp of the Fulton Maroons Tuesday night.

VSS Panthers, Fulton Maroons revive Vernon hoops rivalry

Vernon Panthers ground Fulton Maroons 72-71 in senior boys basketball thriller at the Panther Pit.

Drums banging, fans screaming, music blaring and two highly athletic teams running their hearts out.

It was a high school basketball classic Tuesday night at the gorgeous Panther Pit with VSS hanging on for a drama-jammed 72-71 overtime win over the Fulton Maroons.

Officially, it was an exhibition since the Panthers are an AAA school and Fulton plays AA. The players didn’t get the memo as they dove for loose balls and challenged for rebounds like there was cash inside.

“The home crowd pushed us over the the top to victory,” said VSS coach Glenn Garvie, following one of the most exciting city senior boys showdowns in decades. “It was a traditional, hard-fought game between two arch rivals.”

John Garvie drained 20 points for the Cats, while Andy Hladik rung up 19 points and 11 rebounds. Mitchell Pepper sank 13 points, Chris Inscho added 10 and Shelby Hartwig pocketed 15 rebounds.

Michael Rouault counted 25 points and 16 boards for the Maroons, while Tye Kitzman and Darrien Broomfield each netted 11. Broomfield bagged a dozen rebounds.

“I was obviously dissappointed with the outcome,” said Fulton coach Dale Olson. “We did not shoot the ball well and we turned it over under no pressure. Normally, we will knock down open jumpers and we didn’t do that.

“The one thing with this group of guys is that no matter how bad we shoot, they will always compete and never quit. That’s a great quality in a team and it will pay dividends at the end of the year when the chips are on the line. VSS is a good team and it’s nice to have some rivalries back in high school basketball in Vernon. Those types of games make everyone better down the stretch. It was a great atmosphere; we can’t wait for the rematch Feb. 5 at our place.”

The Panthers came back down to earth Thursday morning when they lost 85-71 to the Fleetwood Park Dragons of Surrey at the St. Thomas More Knights Chancellor Tournament in Burnaby.

Garvie flushed 19 points, Hladik earned 15 and Hartwig added 13.

Meanwhile, VSS grounded Fulton 83-23 in senior girls play Wednesday night.

The Cats led 48-5 at the half, getting 19 points from Jordan Korol, who was force in the paint.

Anna Rice fired 17 points, including 10 in the first quarter to get VSS going. Kristy Fugel crashed the weakside boards hard to chip in 11 points.

AJ Jacura had eight points for the Maroons, who open a three-team home playday at 2 p.m. against the Pleasant Valley Saints. Fulton meets Sa-Hali Sabres of Kamloops at 7:45 p.m.

“This was a tough game for us against a superior VSS team,” said Fulton coach Mike Scheller. “We came out very flat and played our worst quarter of the season to begin the game.”

“Sam Orr had a good game for us and her work ethic was impressive. Brittany Aeichele had a good game defensively and secured some good rebounds for us.”

In junior boys action Tuesday, the Panthers brushed back Fulton 51-45 behind 11 points from Ben Hladik.

Nathan Spark sank nine points for VSS, while Seth Blundell collected eight. Jakob Marshall and- Charis Ondrik each had six. Kobe Romanovitch dialed up 22 points for Fulton.

“I was very pleased with the composure our team showed against our crosstown rivals,” said Panther coach Mike Sawka. “It was a satisfying win as the team is starting to gel as we head into the heavy part of our season schedule.”

The Cats open their Subway Junior Boys Invitational today at 3:30 p.m. against the Rutland Voodoos. Fulton meets the Salmon Arm Golds at 5 p.m.

VSS takes on Sa-Hali at 6:30, while Fulton squares off against the South Okanagan Hornets of Oliver at 8 p.m. The final goes Saturday at 3 p.m.