Strong defence and hustle is what the Pen High Lakers used to contain the speedy L.V. Rogers Bombers during the Fred Fedorak Christmas Classic.
The host senior boys team downed the Nelson based squad 53-46 in the third-place match last weekend by being intense defensively and denying the Bombers the ball.
“We controlled the boards,” said Findlay. “Didn’t give too many second chances.”
Focus on defence was important as the Lakers were able to identify the Bombers shooters from watching their early games.
“We played tough defence on the shooters,” he said. “It worked really well for us. We had a 21-point lead.”
Nearly half of the Lakers offence came from two players, Ryan Sutcliffe and Jordan Farmer each had 11 points.
Findlay is happy with their finish while the goal was to be in the championship game.
The Lakers opened the tournament with a 73-60 win against the Summerland Rockets then lost to Seaquam Seahawks from Delta 57-45. A slow start in that match hurt the Lakers, who scored just 17 points in the opening half.
When the Lakers return from the Christmas break, they will be looking for consistency from an inexperienced team.
Findlay, who replaces Dustin Hyde as coachcoached, is working with six Grade 12s and eight Grade 11 players.
“It’s a big jump from junior boys to senior boys,” he said. “We had great success the last two years making the B.C.s coming in top 10. Speed is half a step faster and you don’t get the shot off quite as easily.”
Identity is also something the Lakers are searching for, said Findlay of his young team.
“Trying to transition the ball,” he said. “Get the fast break going. Learn when to go to the hoop hard. With experience they will identify that.”
Sutcliffe said he felt the team had good energy during the tournament, but turnovers hurt them.
“We took pride in the defence,” said Sutcliffe, who would like to see the Lakers be the hardest working team in the valley.
“I’m hoping we can win valleys and go to provincials. We have a strong enough team to do that.”
Lakers point guard Jacob Willock said another area they need to work on is shot selection and execution. However, what will make this Lakers squad strong in his opinion is working together.
The Lakers defeated the Seaquam Seahawks 76-44 to wrap up their Christmas Classic with wins in all three games. Lakers coach Lesley Lacroix said it was a chippy game.
“It was not good basketball in some ways,” said Lacroix.
Impressing Lacroix were Makayla Montgomery and Chantel Bierle. Lacroix said Montgomery was “outstanding.”
The Grade 11 players put in strong performances while Bri Hrynyk scored 20 points. The Lakers had a 20-13 lead after one quarter, 37-24 lead at half and 58-37 after three quarters.