Penticton Senior Secondary School Lakers net early win

Pen high Lakers senior girls basketball team have strong start in season opener.

Penticton Senior Secondary School Lakers basketball player Haylee Robertson.

Penticton Senior Secondary School Lakers basketball player Haylee Robertson.

Emily Clarke scored 26 points to push the Pen High Lakers senior girls basketball team past the Rutland Voodoos 72-24.

Clarke shot 50 per cent from the three-point line as the Lakers opened their regular season on a high note Tuesday.

The Lakers also received strong contributions from Grade 11 rookies Natasha Reimer, who scored 13 points and dominated the board for 20 rebounds and Haylee Robertson finished with 10 points and six boards.

Lakers coach Lesley Lacroix liked that her players executed their motion offence smoothly and made smart decisions.

“We shot the ball far better from the outside than we did on the weekend,” said Lacroix, referring to their play during a tournament in Abbotsford last weekend.

The Lakers traveled to Kelowna to face the Owls, ranked in the top-10, on Thursday and lost 52-45. Lacroix said it was a four-point match for 40 minutes but they couldn’t prevail. Clarke, Reimer and Merle Schrader scored 13 points each. Schrader was perfect from three-point range scoring three times. The Lakers begin play in J.L. Crowe’s tournament in Trail today.

“Continuing to build on our motion offence and get more players involved in scoring,” is a focus for Lacroix.

While in Abbotsford, competing in W.J. Mouat’s 16-team tournament, the Lakers finished 10th. They faced Rick Hansen Secondary and were unable to gain momentum, losing 45-43. Clarke and Reimer led all scorers with 19 and 12 points, respectively. The Lakers opened the tournament against Victoria’s Oak Bay losing 59-26. In their second game against Seycove from North Vancouver, Clarke led with 10 points, while Robertson and Reimer finished with nine and seven, respectively. Grade 10 Merle Schrader scored seven. Clarke was named player of the game for her play. The Lakers then defeated the host’s varsity team, 66-46. Reimer and Robertson were strong on the boards combining for 25 rebounds. Reimer also scored 17 points, while Robertson had 14.

The season goal for the Lakers is a top-three finish or higher as Lacroix would like to see her team compete in provincials.

The Lakers coaches intend to have the team play a style that places the onus on the players to make decisions and think for themselves.

“It makes for better basketball that is more fun to coach and play,” said Lacroix. “We aren’t big, but we will be quick and will make up for our size at the defensive end of the floor.”

Senior boys

It’s a rebuilding year for the Laker boys basketball squad with new coach Colin Cook. The team is made up of primarily Grade 11s with just three Grade 12 players.

“We have a small, fast and  scrappy group,” said Cook of his inexperienced team.

While the wins may be hard to come by, Cook said they intend to play a run-and-gun style. They are also focused on defence with their offence being a work in progress.

“It’s a good group of kids,” said Cook. “They are eager to learn.”