The Pen High Lakers senior girls basketball team advanced to the 4A Okanagan Valley championship.
The Lakers accomplished the feat by defeating the Mt. Boucherie Bears 63-54 on Tuesday at Pen High.
Lakers co-coach Lesley Lacroix said what helped the team win was staying composed near the end. The Bears clawed at the Lakers lead, getting as close as four points. The Laker limited their turnovers and executed offensively under pressure.
Lyndzie Caron led the Lakers offensively with 26 points, while adding 12 boards. Emma Schneider score 13 and collected five rebounds. Jean Grakul chipped in nine points, all from three-point range.
The Lakers closed out its regular season with a 52-30 win over the Salmon Arm Jewels on Feb.13 to finish 6-6 in 12 games. On Feb.12, they hosted the South Kamloops Titans and lost 60-42. In that game, Caron had 12 points with eight steals. Hannah Clarke added 10 points with six boards.
The morning of Feb. 13, the Lakers lost to the North Kamloops Saints 61-49. Caron had 11 points and 11 rebounds, Celine Francisco chipped in eight points, while Sidney Clarke also added six.
Following the win against the Jewels, Lakers co-coach Dustin Hyde said they had some great and not so great moments.
“Like all year, we have had moments of good execution and moments where we seem to lack the ability to follow through with what we’re doing,” said Hyde.
One of their better players was veteran Sydney Clarke. She was given a lot of playing time because of her defensive presence.
“She was really big on the boards and sacrificing in a way that we haven’t seen really any of our players do this year,” said Hyde. “Diving for basketballs, trying to take charges. That was the type of energy that we needed out of her.”
On Friday the Lakers open the Okanagan Valley championship against the Kelowna Secondary School Owls. The Owls are ranked fourth provincially and are led by national team player Taya Hanson. Lacroix said for them to have success, they will have to shut her down.
Only one team from the championship will advance to provincials in Langley.