Lakers step up to win

The Pen High Lakers junior girls basketball team won its own tournament, downing the OKM Huskies

The Pen High Lakers junior girls basketball team had a huge weekend, winning their own tournament.

The Lakers clinched by defeating the third-ranked Okanagan Mission Huskies 48-41. Motivation for a strong performance came after Lakers coach Dustin Hyde ripped into his team following a 39-37 win against South Kamloops.

“The girls played with no heart, lacked intensity and no one deserved the (player of the game) award,” said Hyde, who decided to give the award to Jocelyn Brady despite not getting any playing time. “It was a very frustrating game as the girls seemed complacent and their willingness to compete was essentially non-existent. Jocelyn, however, was incredibly positive on the bench and doing everything she could to pump our girls up. “

The Lakers pulled off the win on a last second shot from Celine (Big Shot) Francisco.

“She has an uncanny ability to get game winners,” said Hyde.

The Lakers dominated, leading by as many as 16 points.

“We played with a defensive intensity that was hard to match,” said Hyde.

The Huskies fought back to get within two points in the third quarter, however, Francisco came up big again, nailing two clutch shots, including one from three- point range with 30 seconds remaining in the game. Lyndzie Caron led with 16 points and added nine rebounds and eight steals. Francisco finished with 13 points, Hannah Clarke and Jollee Perrier had 11.

Hyde said his players have bought into the defensive intense style he is preaching.

“We lack the ability to easily score and as such need to rely on tenacious D,” he said. “We did that against OKM for the first time this year.”

In their opening game, a 69-16 win over the Mt. Boucherie Bears, Caron led with 13 points while grabbing five rebounds. Kyra Wallace netted 11 points and collected four rebounds and four steals.Caron and Perrier were named tournament all-stars.

“Both played very well all weekend logging loads of minutes, grabbing tons of boards but most importantly, playing great defence,” said Hyde.

Francisco earned most valuable player honours for making clutch baskets. South Kamloops finished third in the tournament. The Pen High 9s were sixth.

Lakers dump Lake City

The senior girls basketball team left Abbotsford’s Mennonite Educational Institute exhibition with one win.

Opening against host MEI, ranked sixth in B.C., the Lakers were outmatched 88-39. Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu led with nine points, Haylee Robertson had 10 rebounds. In their second game, the Lakers faced Lake City (Williams Lake), a fast and athletic team that lacked skill and game sense, said Lacroix. Lannon-Paakspuu rang up 22 points to go with 11 rebounds and seven steals in a 80-41 win. Natasha Reimer was named the player of the game with 21 points, 14 rebounds and six steals. Robertson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

In their final game, the Lakers met Walnut Grove for the third time. After losing the previous two meetings by more than 20 points, the Lakers lost 59-49.

“This game we showed our relative improvement as the game was tied the entire three quarters,” said Lacroix, who was forced to sit Natasha Reimer for most of the fourth quarter because of foul trouble.

The Lakers will play their previously cancelled game with Mt. Boucherie Wednesday at Pen High at 6 p.m.