Williams Lake high school girls basketball teams got their first taste of action on the weekend hosting the Panago Columneetza Classic Junior Girls Basketball Tournament.
Quesnel’s Correlieu Clan and Vanderhoof’s Nechako Valley Viqueens, with both a junior and a grade 9 team, joined the Williams Lake Thunder and the Columneetza Cougars Friday and Saturday at Columneetza secondary to round out the five-team round robin draw.
The Viqueens finished the tournament first and second, respectively, while both Williams Lake high schools held their own.
The Cougars wrapped up their tournament in third following a two-win, two-loss record. The Cougars beat the Thunder 39-30 in a close contest and later capitalized on a second-quarter comeback to edge the Clan 41-36.
High scorer for Columneetza against the Nechako Valley grade 9s was Ariel Zacharius, with seven.
Carly Magnuson and the Williams Lake Thunder’s Emma Pfleiderer dropped 10 a piece in the meeting between the two schools to lead all scorers. Cougars players Kaylee Billyboy and Inderroop Randhawa also potted nine in the win. Panago Player of the Game was Williams Lake secondary’s Skye Forcier.
Zacharius scored 10 and Billyboy added eight — also being named Panago Player of the Game — against the Clan.
Columneetza coach Brigette Peel said the team’s two losses, a 37-29 defeat to the Nechako Valley grade 9s and a 47-31 loss to the Nechako Valley juniors, will help the team set goals for the rest of the season.
“The season is very early and this gave us an idea of where we can set our goals,” Peel said. “The girls are still trying to figure out each other and the strengths of the team so every opportunity to play will help.”
The Thunder began their tournament with a 49-24 loss to Nechako Valley’s tough junior squad, dropped a close 29-12 contest to the Clan and fell 52-15 to the Viqueen’s grade 9s. Thunder players Emma and Laura Pfleiderer were both recognized with Panago Player of the Game honours.
Peel added everyone in the tournament played well, and said she’s looking forward to an exciting season of basketball.
The Cougars’ season is shaping up to be a busy one as the team will head to Prince George for four tournaments this season — the most recent coming up Dec. 14-15 at Duchess Park secondary before hosting the regional playoffs, Feb. 15-16, at Columneetza.
The top team at regionals will qualify for the North Central Zone playoffs at Duchess Park secondary from Feb. 21-23.