He wasn’t raging like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, but Pen High Lakers point guard Derek Wolf is still stinging with disappointment.
The Lakers hosted the AAA Okanagan Valley championship with the goal to face the Kelowna Secondary School Owls in the final and maybe, just maybe upset the second-ranked team in the province. Even with a solid home crowd behind the Lakers, it just wasn’t meant to be during a 61-48 loss to the South Kamloops Titans Friday.
“It was rough losing to South Kamloops,” said Wolf, who finished with a team-high 22 points. “It was a big game.”
The Lakers had a strong first half and left with a 28-24 lead. Then as the fourth quarter rolled around, the tides turned and the Titans just never quit. Thanks to defensive play of Ethan McCluskey, Colten Prestholdt and Dylan Ames, they rotated to defend the Titans David Wagner, considered one of the top players in the country, and held him to 12 points. Part of what hurt the Lakers were several missed chances. The Lakers weren’t able to stop the Titans when they needed. The end result is the Lakers faced Mt. Boucherie in their final game and won 62-55 taking third place. The Owls move onto the provincial championship after dismantling Mt. Boucherie by 62 points, they brought down the Titans 68-36.
While the Lakers were still disappointed when they faced Mt. Boucherie on Saturday, there was an inner determination to end the season on a high.
“I wanted to be there, I wanted to play so bad,” said Wolf, who was named to the tournament all-star team. “So did all the other guys. For the Grade 11s, it’s more of the start of their next year.”
As per Laker tradition, the Grade 12s started the game with the younger players getting their chance to shine later. And shine they did.
While the seniors came out a little flat to start, Lakers coach Dustin Hyde said they got a boost from the youngsters.
“They played really hard,” said Hyde, who will give up his coaching reigns of the senior team to Brad Findlay and Bob Rafter. “Guys like Derek Hohmann and Brody St. Martin kind of had really big games for us.
“They clawed us back into it,” said Hyde, who will become a father soon. “I think to start we just weren’t that focused. I think we were probably a little emotionally down from the previous nights loss. It was a heart breaker for us. I think Hohmann (11 points, 10 rebounds) had the best game he’s ever had.”
Pen High’s Grade 9 girls basketball earned silver after losing to the Dr. Knox Falcons 58-33 in the provincial championship.
It was a rematch from the Okanagan Valley championship two weeks ago in which the Falcons defeated the Lakers by two in overtime. Leading the Lakers offensively were Hayden Craig, who collected 14 points and Abi McCluskey, with five, while Emily Clarke earned Player of the Game honours.
“To be able to play your best stretch of basketball at the provincial championships was pretty special,” said Lakers coach Chris Terris. “It was just a fabulous effort by the girls.”
Terris added that the Falcons changed its system and double teamed Craig. It was a tactic the Lakers hadn’t seen all year and proved difficult to adjust.
In the opening game, the Lakers came in as the No. 4 seed defeating Tweedsmuir (Fraser Valley), No. 1 57-36. Craig and Kaylie Loewen scored 29 and 17 points respectively. In game three, the Lakers defeated Brocklehurst (Okanagan), the No.2 seed 47-43. Craig led with 25 points, while Lowen had six points and Shayla Hearne five. In the third game, the Lakers defeated West Vancouver 53-42. Craig led with 26 points and Loewen had 18.
Craig and Loewen were named provincial all-stars.