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Okanagan girls wrap up B.C. basketball tourney

Two programs finish sixth, the best result for an Okanagan team this year
Vernon’s Beth Butler dives for a loose ball, with MEI Eagles Bree Neufeld in pursuit. The Panthers would lose to the Eagles in day one action from the Langley Events Centre at the 2023 B.C. High School Girls Provincial Basketball Championship. (Varsity Letters)

Despite no Okanagan teams bringing home a banner, there was still plenty of story lines to follow at the 2023 B.C. Girls High School Provincial Basketball Championships that occurred over the weekend.

Four divisions (junior, AA, AAA, AAAA) crowned champions on Saturday, after four days of non-stop action at the Langley Events Centre.

Starting with the junior tournament, the 24-team draw saw Vernon Secondary Panthers (VSS) and Okanagan Mission (OKM) Huskies compete from the Okanagan. VSS would drop their opener, then rattle off two wins before losing their final match, against the G.W Graham Grizzlies, 46-42, to finish 18th.

OKM, meanwhile, won their first match to set up a pivotal quarterfinal against the top ranked Oak Bay Breakers. The Huskies would lose, but would rebound in their next match, to put them in a five/six placement game against the second ranked Yale Bulldogs. Despite 22 points from Shae Sandhu, the Huskies fell 42-32. Sandhu was named to the Second All-Star team in the tournament.

The hometown Brookswood Bobcats from Langley won the championship, defeating the Breakers in the final, 49-36.

The AA 16-team tournament had just a sole Okanagan representative, the Kalamalka Lakers from Coldstream. Seeded eighth, they were upset in the opening round, losing to the ninth ranked Abbotsford Traditional Titans. They then dispatched the Shas Ti Kelly Road Grizzlies 88-29 in their second match, before dropping a 67-58 decision to Brentwood College. In their final game of the tournament, the Lakers ended the season on a high note with a 62-44 victory over the Lambrick Park Pride.

The top seeded Mulgrave Titans roared to the provincial championship by eviscerating the Pacific Christian Pacers in the final by a 91-53 score. The Titans won every game by at least 28 points, culminating with the 38 point blowout in the final.

The AAA draw saw the VSS Panthers and W.L Seaton Sonics in the tournament for the Okanagan. Unfortunately, both teams lost their first two games, leading to a battle between the two programs on Friday morning. VSS emerged victorious, 52-48. However, in the final matches for both teams, the Sonics defeated the Mark R. Isfeld Ice, 71-65, to end the season on a high note, while the Panthers lost, 63-37 to the John Oliver Jokers.

The Abbotsford Senior Panthers upset Victoria’s St. Michaels University Blue Jags in a tightly contested final, 67-64 to win the provincial title.

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Finally, the AAAA tournament featured a bout between two Kelowna teams, the OKM Huskies and KSS Owls. After opening victories for both teams, KSS dropped a 59-46 decision to the eventual champion Riverside Rapids. The Huskies too would falter, losing to the second ranked Burnaby Central Wildcats, 83-74.

Despite the losses, the two Kelowna teams faced off on Friday with the right to play in a five/six placement game. KSS won, paced by a balanced offensive performance, 83-64. The victory slotted the Owls into a matchup against the Seaquam Seahawks to wrap up their tournament. However, KSS lost, 70-66 to finish sixth in the tournament. The Huskies would rebound by winning their final match, against the Claremont Spartans, 83-74 to finish seventh overall.

The Rapids defeated the top ranked Walnut Grove Gators in the championship, 70-52. Tournament MVP Kiera Pemberton of the Gators scored 170 points in four games, an average of 42.5 a game, one point off the tournament all-time record.

KSS’s Mav Chahal was named to the Second Team All-Star for her scoring prowess over the weekend.

High school basketball action will continue this week, as it is the boys turn to take center stage. The A, AA, AAA and AAAA tournament get going Wednesday from the Langley Events Centre. To stay up-to-date on the tournaments, visit

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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