Bryn Carter (8) of the Princess Margaret Mustangs manages to get a shot of while feeling the pressure from Pleasant Valley Saints defenders Taylor Coleridge (33) and Darren Blair (9). The Mustangs won 46-44 and finished the tournament with a 1-2 record. Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

Lakers fourth quarter killers and Mustangs ready for playoffs

The Pen High Lakers senior boys basketball team call themselves the “fourth quarter killers.”

The Penticton Secondary School Lakers senior boys basketball team call themselves the “fourth quarter killers.”

They proved why on Feb. 4 when they defeated the Vernon Secondary Panthers to clinch the Maggie Mustangs tournament on the weekend. A 17-point fourth quarter run secured a 57-46 win.

“We always stepped up in the fourth quarter. For whatever reason they need the inspiration,” said Lakers assistant coach Andrew Knudsen. “It’s a big team win. Quite happy because of just the grit that this team could show down the stretch.”

The Lakers finished 3-0 after defeating Vernon.

READ MORE: Hornets sting Mustangs with offensive run

“They fought really hard. They were a great team,” said 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), 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.”

After missing another basket, the Panthers slowly walked to their bench as Laker Jake Stokker dribbled the ball and killed the remaining 20 seconds on the clock.

Jackson Coates of the Lakers said it was a big game that they had to bring extra energy for.

“It was a very good team. We had to do our best to stop them,” said Coates. “We came back, we were down by like 10. We always find a way to come back. It was good.”

The Lakers opened the tournament with a 72-70 win over the Kelowna Christian Knights and picked up their second win against the Pleasant Valley Saints (Armstrong) 87-60.

Mustangs place fifth

The Princess Margaret Mustangs scraped out a 42-40 win over the Pleasant Valley Saints to finish 1-2.

With their star Prab Chahal resting to be ready for a crucial playoff game against the George Elliot Coyotes on Wednesday, other players got the chance to step up.

“I thought we did some nice things. Offensively we had a little more movement,” said Mustangs coach Dan Van Os. “We got some guys that were able to step forward and hit some shots. With Prab out of the lineup, they had to take on a little more of an offensive role. There was some things that we accomplished that we were pretty happy with.”

Among the players who raised their game for the extra court time were Jaylen Hearne, Sukh Toor and Bryn Carter.

“We’re still learning and developing,” said Van Os.

Chahal said the Mustangs didn’t play with intensity until their final game. They opened with an 80-71 loss to the Similkameen Elementary Secondary Sparks then lost to the Vernon Panthers. Watching from the bench, Chahal said he was able to see the mistakes they made, even ones that he sometimes makes.

“You just see it from a coaches perspective,” said Chahal. “They definitely moved the ball a lot better. Before we would always have a bunch of these offences, but I guess it was too complicated to remember all of them. Just moving the ball for us is working really well. We’re athletic. That just works a lot better for us.”

Chahal said in their opening two games the team was stagnant. Coming off the win against the Saints, Chahal said they can build off that energy and use it Wednesday at George Elliot. He says they feel they have something good going.

“I thought our defence was a lot better. The pressure was better,” said Chahal. “Our point guard Bryn, he was shooting the ball really well. Our intensity, we were locked in for sure.”

In the other final game, the Kelowna Christian Knights defeated Keremeos 70-55.

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