Jake Stokker’s late shot from three-point range clinched the Penticton Christmas Classic basketball tournament for Pen High Lakers.
Jake led the Lakers with 22 points to defeat Prince George 69-64 on Dec.18
The Lakers led by two points with 30 seconds remaining when Stokker sank his last basket with four seconds remaining on the shot clock. Dylan Moorman added 16 points. Michael Stokker, the Lakers assistant coach, said their focus was to shut down Prince George’s best player, win the battle for rebounds and not get outscored badly.
“We achieved those three goals,” said Michael, adding that it was the first time in more than 10 years that the senior Lakers have won that tournament.
Jake and Moorman were praised for their excellent defence and rebounding. The Lakers trailed the game by 10 points in the opening five minutes. They settled down after that and by the third quarter, led by 10.
“The boys played extremely well last weekend,” said Lakers coach Colin Cook. “We also had our lowest turnover total of the year with seven.”
Michael said getting the players to adapt to Prince George’s top player taught them a valuable lesson that they can adjust. He added they have the ability to learn how to react to a player to match that level of intensity.
The Lakers went into the Christmas Classic hoping to win as they have had a tentative start to the season. The Lakers assistant coach said they are seeing the confidence grow every game.
Prior to this tournament, the Lakers played in the Rutland Voodoos tournament on Dec.11-12 and took second. They lost in overtime to the Okanagan Mission Huskies.
The Princess Margaret Mustangs finished third in the Christmas Classic as they defeated the George Elliot Coyotes. The Mustangs opened the tournament with an 86-53 win over Pleasant Valley, then lost 104-84 against Prince George.
In 2016, the Lakers tentative home schedule has them hosting Mt. Boucherie on Jan. 5 at 6:45 p.m., Feb. 9 at 6:45 p.m. versus Kelowna Secondary and Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. versus Salmon Arm.
Kelowna Secondary School hosts the Valley Championship on Feb. 24-25.