by Howard Tsumura/Special to the Langley Advance
The Abbotsford Panthers might be young, but they grew up in a hurry this week at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational girls senior varsity tournament at the Langley Events Centre.
The Panthers, with just a pair of Grade 12s in their main rotation, advanced to Saturday evening’s championship final against the three-time defending B.C. triple-A champion Brookswood Bobcats after both teams staged late surges to win their respective semifinal games.
Abbotsford, led by the dynamic guard play of sisters Sienna and Marin Lenz, broke open a tight affair against the Langley Christian Lightning, putting together a 20-4 game-closing run en route to a 71-54 victory.
Sienna, a Grade 11 and one B.C.’s most dynamic talents, scored a game-high 32 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, while Grade 9 sister Marin also scored 10 points in the final frame, finishing with 15 points.
“It was good for us becasue the past few weeks we haven’t played that well in the second half,” said head coach Prentice Lenz, Sienna and Marin’s dad and a former star at both MEI and Simon Fraser. “I was happy because that run did come in the second half because what we’re really looking to do is put as much pressure as we can on you from end-line to end-line.”
Abby, which also got 10 points from guard Sydney Fetterly, benefitted from the solid inside play of Kelsey Roufosse.
It was all the Panthers could do for three quarters to try and slow the Lightning and its inside force Katelyn Mallette, who finished with 18 points. Grade 9 guard Makenna Gardner scored 10 while guard Liesl VanWyk added eight.
The Bobcats trailed Lord Tweedsmuir 52-51 after three quarters but a late 9-2 run coupled with a game-closing 6-0 spurt propelled them to a 72-60 win.
Senior guard Louise Forsyth scored a game-high 31 points to lead Brookswood, while guard Jenna Dick added 14 points and post Brooklyn Golt 12.
Shania Mander’s 14 points led Tweedsmuir, with guard Maryn Budiman added nine and forward Sarah Rowe eight.
“We talked at the half how it was like a chess match,” said Brookswood head coach Chris Veale. “You move here, we move there. But we were able to make some shots down the stretch, and defensively we were tough.”
– Howard Tsumura is with the Vancouver Province.