Ranked third in the province, the VSS Panthers used Tessa’s Tournament to measure their senior AA girls hoop status last weekend in Surrey.
The Cats stopped the host Holy Cross Crusaders – rated No. 11 – 87-40 before falling 66-46 to top-seeded AAA Oak Bay Breakers of Victoria in the 14-team round-robin memorial event. VSS grounded the Handsworth Royals of North Vancouver 65-45 in their other game.
Megan Rouault drained 26 points against Holy Cross, while game star Kelsey Falk flushed 20, Mackenzie Horst sank 18 and Brianna Falk bagged 16
“We came out rebounding and running and Holy Cross tried to zone press but our girls executed the press break and punished it,” said Cats head coach Lonny Mazurak. “When we get balanced scoring like this, we’re tough to beat.”
Brianna Falk recorded 16 points versus Oak Bay with game star Rouault ringing up 15.
“The girls competed hard but their (Oak Bay) size and strength were the difference as we had trouble with their zone and keeping them off our glass. However, coach (Dave Tetreault) T and I agreed that we needed to be pushed like that.”
Game star Horst canned 22 points, while Rouault pocketed 16 and Megan Wiebe added seven versus Handsworth.
After being down by a point in a sluggish first half , the Panthers outscored the Royals 40-18 in the second half.
“This weekend was a giant step in the right direction in preparing for playoffs,” said Mazurak.
Tessa’s Tournament is held in memory of Holy Cross grad Tessa Beauchamp, who died Jan. 27, 2012 after a four-year battle with brain cancer. She was 18.
In Grade 11, while recovering from radiation treatment, she was back on the basketball court. She played with an eye patch (a side effect from the radiation), and with no hearing in her right ear, still managed to hit threes. During her radiation treatments, Tessa insisted on watching her volleyball team play and she would lie on the floor and cheer them on, despite feeling incredibly sick.
At age three, her party dress caught on fire while she was sitting in front of a gas fireplace. She suffered third-degree burns to 20 per cent of her body and spent 30 days at Vancouver General and Children’s Hospitals, while receiving skin grafts.
Meanwhile, the injury-riddled senior boys Panthers lost 57-46 to the Pen High Lakers in Saturday’s final of the Princess Margaret Mustangs Invivational in Penticton.
The Lakers used a 17-point fourth quarter run to stop the Panthers, who were down to seven players after losing Josh Bridge to an ankle sprain in Friday’s opening 12-point win over the Similkameen Sparks of Keremeos. VSS was also without star Ben Hladik (thumb) and Brody Watts (concussion).
Leon Schenker dialed 18 points, while Brad Hladik nailed 11 for the Panthers, who stopped the Mustangs by 11 earlier in the day.
“We just ran out of gas,” said VSS coach Glen Garvie. “That was our second game of the day and all seven kids competed hard for as long as they could.”
The Lakers finished 3-0, posting a 72-70 win over the Kelowna Christian Knights and blasting the Pleasant Valley Saints (Armstrong) 87-60.
”They fought really hard; they were a great team,” said Lakers assistant coach Andrew Knudsen. “They were really gutsy. We brought our bench in quite a bit today. They really stepped it up. Spencer Finlayson (named player of the game) made a big shot when we were up just by two points. He stepped in and hit a big three that put us up by five. That seemed to be a bit of a back-breaker for them.”
The Panthers entertain the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops in league play Friday night (6:45) and then finish the regular season Saturday, 11 a.m. versus the South Kam Titans at the Panther Pit.
The VSS Panthers used a balanced attack to win the Shuswap Barry Dearing Invitational Grade 8 Boys Basketball Tournament.
Coached by Howie Falk and Bobby Mitchell, the Panthers brushed back the Westsyde Whundas of Kamloops 50-34 in Saturday’s final game.
VSS outmuscled the Whundas in the second quarter to grab a 21-15 halftime lead. The Cats parlayed some tough defence into quick transition for loads of easy buckets to outscoring Westsyde 18-8 in the third.
Nathan Tinker was awarded the Hustle Player award as he used some sweet ball-handling skills to dismantle Westsyde’s full-court press while scoring six points. Ethan Mitchell and Jonathan Bielski also chipped in six points. Jacob Plank took game MVP as he dominated the boards and sank five points. William Satterwaite and Josiah Falk also produced five points each.
“Once again we had seven players scoring four points or more,” said Falk. “This game was won by team defence and team offence. Overall it was a very well-played weekend with each game becoming tougher and our boys adjusting and becoming better players in each game.”
The baby Panthers toppled the Shuswap Middle School Phoenix 62-36 in their tourney opener with Mitchell pulling down 10 points and game MVP Ashton Komaryk, Bielski and Tinker each garnering eight. Josiah Falk, Leul Berehanu, Liam Williamson, and Taylor Hoekstra each pocketed six. Berehanu earned the hustle award.
Earlier Saturday, the Panthers iced the Valleyview Vikings of Kamloops 46-38.
“We had a lot of missed baskets and plays not going our way,” said coach Falk. “But we never stopped playing except for a blip in the fourth quarter. We built a 44-26 lead at beginning of the fourth only to let it slip. We learned a valuable lesson that we need to play to the final buzzer.”
Bielski bagged six points, Falk rated player of the game with five points, including a trey, as he controlled the ball with poise. Ethan Greenan earned the hustle award.