The Penticton Secondary School Lakers senior boys basketball team jumped off to a strong start in what ended up being a tough weekend at the 19th annual Fulton Maroons Corporate Classic Tournament in Vernon.
The Lakers had a dominating victory over the South Okanagan Hornets, but the club lost all of their next three matches.
In the first game, last Thursday, against the Oliver squad, the Lakers came out of the gate eager to play and had little trouble handling their opponent’s half-court, zone defence, managing to move the ball well and finding openings in the zone for some easy scoring opportunities.
A big difference for the winners was Stephen Searcy’s three-point accuracy as he hit three baskets from long-range in a short span to open up a big lead.
Searcy finished with eight points and two steals in the 66-37 win.
Jordan Moore was the Lakers’ player-of-the-game with five points, five rebounds (three in the offensive zone) and one blocked shot.
In game two Friday, the Lakers showed the effects of the Christmas layoff falling 66-61 to the Westsyde Whundas (Kamloops) the bronze medal winners. Out of sync and a non-existent offence, the Lakers allowed their opponents to open up a commanding lead to start the game.
Owen Labadie had some big buckets down the stretch to keep the Lakers in the game, but some missed free throws by the team proved costly in the end.
Ross Miller, who had a fabulous weekend for Penticton, finished the game with 20 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Labadie was the-player-of-the-game with 22 points, two steals and two rebounds.
In the second game of the day it was the silver medal DP Todd Trojans of Prince George prevailing 79-57.
Hopes for a rebound in the match were not realized as the Trojans came out aggressively from the start and the Lakers again found themselves behind and in foul trouble early on.
Spencer Toneatto came off the bench in an attempt to spark the team, hitting seven points and pulling down several rebounds.
But despite that and a big effort from player-of-the-game Miller, who wound up with 18 points and seven rebounds, victory proved out of reach.
According to assistant coach Eron Labadie, the 75-43 loss in the final game to Salmon Arm Gold Saturday, the score was not indicative of the game.
“It was a hard fought battle but started with a 15-0 run for Salmon Arm to start the game,” said the Lakers coach. “For the first time this year, rough starts to our games seems to be an issue. Once we got our legs going we crawled back in.”
He described Salmon Arm as a well-coached team with a deep bench, moving the ball well and waiting patiently for good scoring opportunities.
The Lakers at one point fought back to within eight points, 49-41 but the inability to buy a bucket and a struggling defence ended the come back attempt allowing the Gold to run up the score.
In the championship game it was the Vernon Panthers taking the gold with a 69-61 win over the Trojans.
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