The Vernon Panthers, winners of the North Shore Junior Boys Invitational. (Mary-Anne Morgan Photo)

Junior Panthers rule North Shore

The VSS Panthers won a 16-team junior boys hoop tournament in Vancouver

The Vernon Panthers were hardly tourists in the North Shore Invitational Junior Boys Basketball Tournament.

The Panthers proved they could compete with Vancouver’s heavyweight teams, stunning the No. 1-ranked Vancouver College Fighting Irish 63-49 in Saturday’s final of the 16-team extravaganza.

Tournament MVP Isaiah Ondrik flushed 19 points for VSS, while while second-team all-star Kevin Morgan chipped in with 13.

“The boys played very well as a team all weekend and to be able to beat the No. 1 team in the province was a big confidence booster for them,” said head coach Malcolm Reid. “I thought our team defence was outstanding all weekend….holding a talented Vancouver College to under 50 points was impressive and encouraging.”

The Cats took down the Rockridge Ravens of West Vancouver 62-23 in the opening round. Zack Smith (first-team all-star) was named Player of the Game and led all scorers with 14 points.

VSS ambushed the North Burnaby Vikings 76-27 in the quarterfinals to set up a match with the host Carson Graham Eagles in the final four.

Player of the Game Nathan Tinker contributed a dozen points, while Morgan added canned 26 against the Vikes.

The semifinal match up with Carson Graham proved to be the Panthers’ biggest test of the weekend. Ondrik (Player of the Game) drained 22 points as the Cats dispatched the Eagles 53-44 to advance to the finals.

Bob Corbett and Sean are assistant coaches with the Panthers.

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