It wasn’t quite the ending that to the season the 2018 Abbotsford Panthers senior girls basketball team wanted.
Seeded second heading into this past weekend’s AAA senior girls provincials and picked by many to take home a provincial title, the Panthers found their title hopes dashed on Friday night by the Walnut Grove Gators.
But the crushing 88-71 loss to the Gators wasn’t it for the club, as they had to return to the Langley Events Centre on Saturday to compete in the third place game against the Semiahmoo Totems.
Just one year after falling to Lord Tweedsmuir in the 2017 provincial final, head coach Prentice Lenz admitted battling for third wasn’t where he wanted his team to be on Saturday.
“It was a tough one to come back for,” he said, following the team’s 82-74 win over the Totems. “It was incredibly difficult to get the girls out of the door, they had just a lost a close one and for them the championship ride was over. We headed here this morning and I wasn’t exactly sure what we were going to get but once the girls started playing the intensity came and I thought they did a great job.”
As was the case for most of the season, the Panthers were fuelled by Prentice’s daughters Sienna and Marin Lenz. Sienna scored a team-high 33 points, while Marin added 31. It was the final high school basketball game for Sienna, who has committed to the Simon Fraser University Clan for the 2018-19 season.
Saturday’s game also marked the end for star guard Sydney Fetterly, who will join the Vancouver Island University Mariners in the fall.
The Panthers led 43-34 on Semiahmoo at the half, and then held off a late push from the Totems to earn third place. Friday’s loss against the Gators still stung, and Prentice said the Langley squad deserved the win.
“They’re an exceptional team,” he said. “They had a great start and went up about 20 in the first half but we battled back and had it tied in the third. But their inside game was too much us.”
Abbotsford opened the tournament with a 101-43 win over North Peace on Wednesday and also took down Sullivan Heights 63-55 on Thursday. Sienna was named a first team all-star, while Marin was named to the second team.
Prentice said he expects the Panthers to still be in the title hunt next year. Marin will return, and the Roufosse sisters Lindsey and Kelsey will provide size down low.
“We’ll be very different next year, but I think we’ll be good,” he said.
The Yale Lions senior girls team also finished the season on a high point, defeating Claremont 74-69 on Saturday to place 11th in the province. Yale opened with a 67-62 loss to Argyle on Wednesday, but bounced back by beating Heritage Woods 77-73 on Thursday. They also fell 68-59 to Oak Bay on Friday.
The Yale junior girls also had a strong run at provincials, finishing fourth overall.
They lost 52-41 to Mount Baker in Saturday’s third place game, but opened with a win over Burnaby South on Thursday. They fell to Fraser Heights on Friday to dash any title hopes. Yale’s Kyleigh Boldt was named a first team all-star at the tournament.
The St. John Brebeuf Bears junior girls finished 11th in the province after downing Lord Tweedsmuir 31-23 on Saturday. Marijke Duralia of the Bears was named a tournament second team all-star.
Walnut Grove defeated Fraser Heights in the junior girls provincial final.
For complete results from both tournaments, visit bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com.