Mustangs win South Zone

An 11-point lead at half time against the South Okanagan Secondary School Hornets provided enough cushion to help the Princess Margaret Mustangs senior girls basketball team clinch the AA South Central Zone.

The visiting Hornets made  it closer in the second half. The Mustangs narrowly outscored them 19-16 for a 49-35 win. Mustangs coach Dave Killick said their focus was to contain Netu Dhaliwal, who finished with eight points, and Navneet Mann had 15, including a three-point shot that kissed the inside of the rim. The Mustangs wanted to force the other Hornets to beat them.

“I think for the most part we did a pretty good job of that,” said Killick. “Oliver played hard.”

The Mustangs coach said it was a good win for his players who were aggressive on the ball and forced several turnovers.The Hornets hit the scoreboard first and had a 5-0 lead before the Mustangs clawed back with the help of a three-point shot made by Dana Klamut, who had nine points in the first half and finished with 11. Klamut’s shot gave the Mustangs a 7-5 lead  that grew to 11-5 after the first quarter and they never looked back. Hornets coach Kevin Chase said his team had a sluggish start due to nerves until finally coming on in the third quarter.

“They weren’t running their offence,” said Chase. “Maggie played a good game. Maggie took one of our guards out of it. They didn’t go after No. 11 (Mann) they went after No. 7 (Dhaliwal) and it disrupted her game plan.”

The Hornets, ranked sixth in the valley, still can get into the Valleys by winning a challenge game.

“The season isn’t over yet. Our girls always take the hard way of doing it,” joked Chase. “I don’t know why they don’t like the easy way. I like easy.”

It was the third victory of the season against the Hornets for the Mustangs. With the previous matches having been tough, Killick said he didn’t expect anything less on Wednesday night. Among the positives Killick saw was his players pushing the ball inside. The only area he wanted to see more success was in executing layups.

“We could have put the game away earlier,” he said. “We were patient with the ball. We moved it well against their zone.”

One of the players who had a strong game was Klamut, who Killick said in the past month has struggled with her shooting.

“It was nice to see her bust out of that slump,” he said. “That really spread their zone out a little bit. Created some opportunities.”

Abby Winstone finished with 10 points, collecting them all in the paint. The Mustangs had eight players score. Kari-Grace Pym played over 30 minutes and pulled down nine rebounds, had eight assists and scored seven points while Brooklyn Pichette had 12 rebounds with her four points. Erin Gabriel made a three-pointer in the second quarter while Callan Cooper, Maddie Winter and Rylee McKinlay all had solid games.

Next stop for the Lakers, who are recognized as honorable mentions in the AA rankings, is getting ready for the Valley championship in Kelowna next weekend. Killick anticipates the Mustangs being seeded fourth and potentially facing Fulton.

“Our goal is to make it to provincials,” he said.

Senior boys

The Mustangs travelled to Oliver to play the Hornets in the South Central Zone semifinal on Tuesday.  Maggie won a hard-fought game 78-74 to advance to the final against Kelowna Christian that was on Thursday.

“As always the gym in Oliver was filled with great home fans as well as family and friends of the Maggie boys,” said Mustangs coach Brian Hurst. “This provided a great atmosphere for the game.”

Leading the charge offensively were Sanam Klar with 20 points, while Justin Cantelon and Jas Sahota netted 17.  Eniola Obefami was force defensively with eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

“Strong deffenive pressure helped erase a South Okanagan lead of 58-51 early in the fourth quarter,” said Hurst. “We were able to keep the mental mistakes to a minimum and play a strong 40 minutes. It has been a while since a senior boys team has been able to earn a victory in Oliver so it was a nice win.”

Hurst wasn’t shy to say his players will need need to be ready for another possible matchup versus a South Okanagan team at the Valley Championships, where a provincal berth may be on the line. South Okanagan will host Okanagan Mission in the third-place game.  The top three teams will advance to the Valley Championship Feb 21 to 23 hosted by the winner of the South Central Zone Championship.




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