Getting wins right now in their home Christmas Classic isn’t important for the Pen High Lakers.
The senior girls basketball team hosted the South Okanagan Secondary School (Oliver) Hornets, George Elliot Coyotes and the Seaquam Seahawks from Delta. It’s the first time in three years the Lakers have hosted a senior girls’ event.
“It’s kind of nice for us because we see our league teams enough,” said Lacroix. “It’s kind of nice to keep a few secrets from them and just play other teams. It’s a good way to lead into the Christmas holidays.”
The tournament concludes today as the Lakers play the Seahawks at 1:30 p.m. with the final game between the Seahawks and Coyotes at 4:45 p.m. Lakers coach Lacroix wants to get all her players court time. Once they get deeper into league play, that will change.
“The win column is more important to me then,” said Lacroix. “Right now I want to progress as a team.”
The Lakers opened the tournament Wednesday with a nail-biting 65-64 loss to the Hornets. Despite plenty of pressure, the hosts couldn’t open with a win. The Lakers put a scare into the Hornets after they trailed 23-14 in the first quarter, then 42-24 at the half. A huge comeback in the second half left Lacroix impressed.
“At the end of the game, I said that felt like a win to me,” said Lacroix. “They seemed pretty pumped by the effort they gave.”
The Lakers coach liked how her players didn’t give up, even when down by 20 points.
“I told them it’s the last time that you will play this team,” she said. “Last year we beat them, the one time we played them in a tournament, by one point. Interesting turnaround, right? They get motivated, I know Oliver gets motivated to play us as well.”
On Thursday morning, the Lakers faced the Coyotes and broke the game open in the third quarter using a full court press winning 63-32.
Also taking place Thursday, the Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic began. The playoff rounds begin Saturday at 10 a.m.
For final coverage of both tournaments, check Wednesdays issue of the Penticton Western News.