PEN HIGH LAKER Isaiah Kozak of the senior boys basketball team had reason to smile. He was sent to the free-throw line as he was fouled while making a two-point shot against the Salmon Arm Gold during the Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic. He ended the opening quarter by sinking a buzzer-beater from three-point range. The Gold went on to win the game 74-52.

Lakers thrive in exhibition series

Lakers play well in Kootenays, Pen High hosts Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic

After watching a 20-point lead disappear, the Pen High Lakers senior girls basketball team rebounded to down the Mt. Boucherie Bears 78-63.

Lakers coach Lesley Lacroix was forced to sit posts Natasha Reimer and Haylee Robertson for most of the second quarter due to four trouble, which resulted in their large lead being a 30-30 tie at half.

With Reimer and Robertson sitting with four fouls, Lacroix made a risky decision and continued playing her senior players.

“I figured it was a great learning experience early in the season as to how to play clean and smart when the game is close,” said Lacroix. “Clean and smart they indeed played. In fact Haylee took two charges with solid defence and both stayed in the game.

The player of the game for the Lakers, however, was Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu. To start the second half, she stole the ball six times and we jumped back up into the lead 53-41.

Robertson finished as the top scorer with 30 points, the first time she hit that mark this season. She also added 12 boards. Lannon-Paakspuu finished with 24 points and 13 steals with 10 assists.  Her first triple double.

Reimer added nine points and 23 rebounds.

The Lakers cruised to easy victories over the LV Rogers Bombers and JL Crow Hawks last weekend.

In their opening game against the Bombers, the Lakers easily won 86-47 with Haylee Robertson and Natasha Reimer racking up 29 and 28 points, respectively. Reimer led the team with 27 boards. Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu and Ali Vandermey chipped in 10 and seven points, respectively. Lannon-Paakspuu added 16 assists. In the rematch, the Lakers won 83-34 with Reimer netting 22 points and Lannon-Paakspuu adding 18. Reimer once again was the king of the boards tracking down 24 loose balls. Lannnon-Paakspuu made six steals and Chantelle Mozart added 12 points, seven rebounds and Kelsey Rowlands collected eight points.

Against the Hawks, Reimer scored 18 points to go with 23 rebounds, while Robertson netted 24 points with four steals and six rebounds. Anika Holowaty added eight points and eight rebounds.

Lakers coach Lesley Lacroix said the three games allowed them to focus on key defensive concepts in their man-to-man defence. She added the team travelled to the Kootenays to celebrate Christmas as a team, get away and have a team dinner.

“Bonding and goal-setting were the focus,” said Lacroix.

Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic

Pen High and Princess Margaret are co-hosting the Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic for junior and senior boys’ basketball Thursday and Friday. Action started at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with the Lakers Grade 9s versus Similkameen Secondary School. At 3 p.m. Pen High hosts Salmon Arm and George Elliot. Games are being played throughout the day until 8 p.m. Playoff action begins Friday at 9 a.m. The final game is at 6:45 p.m. at Maggie.

The Lakers senior boys team opened with a 57-41 win over Similkameen Secondary, then lost to the Salmon Arm Gold 74-52. They will face Keremeos at 4:15 p.m. The Mustangs, who defeated Pleasant Valley Secondary 71-40, is playing the Gold at 6 p.m. at Pen High after they defeated Keremeos 62-50 at Maggie.