Double valley gold for Mustangs
The Immaculata Mustangs are celebrating not one, but two Okanagan senior A basketball titles.
The Mustangs boys and girls teams secured their respective valley championships last weekend to lock up berths at the provincial finals next week.
The Mustangs boys squad won its first valley crown since 2007, turning aside all challengers at the Okanagan finals in Kamloops.
Immaculata opened the tourney with a 100-63 win over Barriere, as Chris Macdonnell scored 36 points, while Michael Gini had eight treys and finished with 33 points.
Game 2 saw the Mustangs down Similkameen 65-53 to clinch a berth at next week's provincials. Macdonnell scored 30, with Gini adding 27.
In the final, the Mustangs faced their longtime rivals, the Kelowna Christian Knights and emerged victorious 67-57. Macdonnell had 35 points, Gini had 20 and Gavin Day added seven.
"It was a very physical game and our team stepped up and played a very tough and emotional game, very very proud of how our team handled themselves the whole weekend on and off the court," said coach Dino Gini. "It was a big win for our team as KCS has had our number all year."
KCS will join the Mustangs at provincials March 4 to 8 in Langley.
While the boys were celebrating in Kamloops, the Immaculata girls were doing the same in Keremeos.
The Mustangs lived up to their No. 1 provincial ranking as they went undefeated at the Okanagan A finals.
In the championship game, Immaculata downed their local rivals, the KCS Knights, 86-52.
Without 6-foot-2 Nicole Hart for the final, Ashlyn Day led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Emma Johnson and Jaedyn Penkala had 16 points each, and Amanda Grant had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
On the way to the final, Immaculata defeated Kamloops Christian 90-18 and Osoyoos 78-38.
Top Defensive player went to Immaculata’s Jaedyn Penkala while Tournament MVP was awarded to Immaculata’s Emma Johnson. Ashlyn Day was a tournament all-star.
The Mustangs girls were coached in Keremeos by Brian Grant, Leah Drebit and Andrew Gini.
"The girls came prepared and ready to defend their title next week in Lumby," said coach Dino Gini."We have a special group that have worked hard and have worked as a team with each player understanding their role on the team, proud of them and proud of our coaching staff and proud to be a Mustang."
Despite finishing second best, coach Dave Bingham was proud of the effort from his Kelowna Christian Knights at the valleys in Keremeos.
KCS advanced to the finals with wins over with wins over St. Annes of Kamloops 66-27, and the No. 5 provincially-ranked Similkameen Sparks 53-47.
In the final, an 86-52 loss to Immaculata, Hayley Hopp had 30 points, while Jacquie Sellers added 12. Both Hopp and Sellers were named to the tournament's all-star team.
The Knights missed the play and leadership of point guard Lauren Krueger who was sidelined with an injury for valleys.
"The girls gave it everything they had," said Bingham, who is assisted by Brian Krueger. "We played some good basketball and now have a chance to see what we can do at provincials."
The Knights will join the Mustangs as Okanagan reps at provincials March 5 to 8 in Lumby.