Penticton Secondary School Lakers player Julia Devito looks for an open player during the basketball provincial invitational tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Photo courtesy of Gary Ahuja/Black Press

Penticton Lakers junior girls lose tough game at basketball provincials

The Lakers are back on the court Friday to face Burnaby South

The Penticton Secondary School Lakers junior girls basketball team lost their chance to play for the provincial championship title in a tough game against Fraser Heights on Thursday.

Related: Penticton Lakers junior girls headed to basketball provincials

Coach Lesley Lacroix said the first quarter was a battle against the Surrey team but shots from the three-point area from Julia Devito and Maria Iannone kept the game close for the first eight minutes. With the score knotted at 9-9, Fraser Heights pulled ahead by five — leading 24-19 at the half-time.

“Kayla Haukaas once again shut down their lead scorer, point guard Neelam Rai, holding her to just four points in the first three quarters of the game. But they found other players to put the ball in the hoop and we didn’t counter well offensively, falling behind by 10,” said Lacroix.

Rai turned up the heat in the fourth quarter, breaking the Lakers desperation press, and leading Fraser Heights to a 55-43 win.

Lakers player Jaden Yamamoto was struggling to get her offensive game started, scoring just one field goal in the game, but managed to contribute from the foul shot line for 12 points. Iannone finished with points and the player of the game, Sophie Brydon, added six.

The Lakers first match of the provincials, matched them up against Vancouver Island’s number one seed — Pacific Christian Academy.

“Their 1-2-2 half court zone gave us plenty of trouble as they focused on preventing any inside play into Jaden Yamamoto. We had to alter our offensive game plan by throwing in a full court press to try to create havoc and steals so we could score in transition rather than in a half court offensive set,” said Lacroix.

Brydon had a strong game but ended up on the bench in the second quarter after getting her second foul. Rebekah Young came in and played well on both ends of the court, including hitting an important shot from three-point range.

Haukaas was given the task of focusing on Pacific Christian’s point guard Adaiah Tupas-Singh. A role she took seriously as she limited the point guard to just six points in the second half. Haukaas also chipped in offensively, scoring a three-point shot and finishing with seven points.

Lacroix said Yamamoto battled hard on the inside as she was double and triple teams, but still managed scoring 13 points. Kate Glibbery was strong on the boards and added six points in the win. Brydon had nine points.

Player of the game Iannnone, was creating mayhem for the Pacific Christian offence and contributed to the score for the Lakers hitting three from the three-point line. The Lakers finished with a 49-44 win.

The Lakers are back on the court Friday, March 2 at 9 a.m. to face Burnaby South. A win will put them into the 5th or 6th place game on Saturday. A loss will see the Lakers playing for seventh or eighth place.

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