Junior Lakers winning early

Lakers Grade 9 girls basketball team perfect so far

KVR EXPRESS’ Mya Semeniuk gets past her defender of the Constable Bruce Neil Cubs in their opening game

KVR EXPRESS’ Mya Semeniuk gets past her defender of the Constable Bruce Neil Cubs in their opening game

Momentum from a regular season win carried over for the Pen High Lakers Grade 9 girls’ basketball team.

The Lakers overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Osoyoos Rattlers 23-19 last Thursday.

The Lakers then went undefeated in their home tournament, beating teams from Kelowna and Vernon. The final pitted them against Vernon’s W.L. Seaton Sonics, a 46-16 final. Sydney Foster led all scorers with 11 points while Shayla Watson, Zoe Konanz, and Julia Speirs each chipped in six points.

Lakers co-coach Lesley Lacroix said she and Bill Bidlake have worked the players on developing a motion offence that requires the players to think and move as a team.

“By the end of the weekend, we had seen a huge improvement in their ability to read the defence and make wise offensive choices,” said Lacroix.

The Lakers opened the tournament by pounding the Vernon Secondary School Panthers 41-15. Holowaty finished with 12 points, while Foster and Jaimy Coates chipped in 10 and six points, respectively.  Sydney Overland collected five rebounds. Facing Kelowna’s Constable Neil Bruce Cubs, the Lakers won 37-31. Clarke netted 13 points, while Foster, Kelsey Rowlands, and Ali Vandermey contributed 16 steals to lead the fast-break offence.

“As coaches, games are important as they highlight the deficiencies our team has, and then from there we can alter future practices,” said Lacroix. “For example, we rebounded very poorly at both ends of the floor, and haven’t devoted enough time in practices to the concepts of blocking out and offensively crashing the boards.”

As for their win against the Rattlers, Lacroix said there wasn’t importance to winning their opening game.

“We are focusing on the future,” she said. “Bill and I intend to follow these great kids up for four years.  Win/loss records, although it is nice to win, are a small part of what we hope to achieve as a team over the years.”

The team has a bye week and then will continue play in the week leading up to Christmas Break.

KVR’s Grade 8 Express team played in the tournament and went 1-1-1. The Express experienced jitters against the Cubs, which resulted in a 10-point loss. Game two had pitted them against the Sonics and they had a one-point lead at half-time.

“The team exploded on offence in the second half and pulled off a 13-point victory 51-38,” said Express coach Rene Aubin. “Around half-time the girls started to believe in themselves and that they could win. This amped up the energy of our full court press … and forced a lot of turnovers.”

Lyndzie Caron led all scorers with 19 points. Cali Anderson was a leader on the floor and scored nine points. Their third game resulted in a 27-27 final against the Panthers. Aubin said his team needed to adjust to the physical play of their opponent. Trailing 14-2 after the first quarter, the Express decided to match the physical style the next quarter. That helped them close the gap to 16-12 by halftime. The Panthers maintained a small lead most of the half and had a three-point lead with 10 seconds remaining. After calling a timeout to set up Hannah Clarke, their three-point shooter, the Express watched as the defence interfered with their plans. However, Clarke gathered the loose ball and made the tying shot.

“I am very pleased with the girls going 1-1-1,” Aubin said. “For the first time this season we were physically and athletically outmatched and we had to find new ways to be successful — including playing tough defensive basketball. The girls battle hard and in the end their confidence grew as individuals and as a team.”

Kiera Moroziuk was a fierce competitor on the floor. She and Tianna Apps contributed five points each. Hannah Clarke and Lyndzie Caron led the scorers with eight points apiece. This weekend the Express host the KVR Winter Classic.