They may be young and lack the big-game experience of the Brookswood Bobcats, but the Abbotsford Panthers proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
Tied at the half, the Panthers broke open the game with a strong third quarter, outscoring the ’Cats by a dozen points en route to the 72-61 victory in the Fraser Valley 3A senior girls championship final on Saturday.
The game was played at Brookswood Secondary.
“They are young and hungry. They just got going. They had another gear and we couldn’t match it,” said Brookswood coach Chris Veale.
“When athletic people are willing to work really hard, they can do some pretty good things.”
Abbotsford scored 27 points in those 10 minutes of the third quarter and the bulk of the damage was done by Grade 9 guard Marin Lenz as she hit three three-pointers and scored 19 points in that quarter alone. She finished with 27 points.
Sydney Fetterly also came up with a pair of three pointers for the Panthers.
Sydney and Marin hit some big shots in the third and that opened the game up for us. That made a big difference,” said Panthers coach Prentice Lenz.
“And then we just battled on defence. We had girl after girl trying to guard Louise (Forsyth) and I think they did a good job on her. That was a big difference in that quarter for us.”
Forsyth finished with 22 points to lead Brookswood, including 12 of the ’Cats 15 points in the third quarter.
The Panthers were the eighth seed for the Fraser Valley championships but they upset the No. 1 Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 85-83 in the quarter-finals and then beat No. 4 Panorama Ridge 77-74 in the semifinals.
Brookswood, seeded second, beat No. 10 Heritage Woods 77-43 in the quarter-finals and No. 3 Walnut Grove 95-69 in the semifinals.
The Gators won the bronze medal with a 71-62 win over Panorama Ridge.
The teams now prepare for the provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre in a few weeks time.
“They amped up their defence (and) we didn’t shoot the ball very well — partially because of them, they don’t give you open looks,” Veale said.
“We will evaluate and restructure things (ahead of provincials).”
Forsyth and Jenna Dick were named first team all-stars for Brookswood while Walnut Grove’s Tavia Rowell and Jessica Wisotzki were second team all-star selections.
The provincial championships run March 1 to 4 at the LEC.