Williams Lake Thunder centre Ana Lomavatu goes up for a shot while Columneetza Cougars player Erica Webber looks to defend.

Thunder rumble at hoops tourney

The Williams Lake Thunder senior girls basketball team stormed to a 62-49 final win over the Caledonia Kermode Bears Saturday.

The Williams Lake Thunder senior girls basketball team stormed to a 62-49 final win over the Caledonia Kermode Bears at the Columneetza Invitational Saturday evening.

The tournament, which featured eight teams, saw the Thunder go undefeated in three games. Williams Lake secondary opened its tournament with a 42-39 edging of the Correlieu Clan and downed the host Columneetza Cougars, 67-35, prior to the final.

Raj Lalli, who co-coaches the Thunder along with Tara Burtenshaw, said the Thunder could possibly be the strongest girls’ basketball team the lakecity has seen in quite some time.

“I think we met our expectations we had for ourselves this past weekend,” Lalli said. “At most tournaments with this group we’ve always gotten really good feedback from other coaches and parents that we’re a very, very hardworking team. We never give up, and physically we’re pretty aggressive and we’re definitely one of the hardest working teams out there.”

Lalli pointed to players such as centre Ana Lomavatu, point guard Latasha Diaz, forwards Montana Reid and Sydney Redpath, and Anne Butters, Dakota Bailey, Natasha Yaworski, Morgan Gary and Lexi Peterson for their outstanding play.

Lomavatu, currently playing in her Grade 12 season, was dominant throughout the tournament.

“She’s been our MVP this season,” Lalli said. “It’s not often Williams Lake teams get a lot of skilled height, and she’s progressed so much over the last three, four years. She’s really focused on her fitness level over the last year or two, and there’s been tremendous improvement there as a post player. She’s one of our better ball handlers, too.”

Lalli added Diaz has the sole responsibility as the team’s point guard, while Reid, Redpath, Butters, Bailey, Yaworski, Gary and Peterson combined for a stymie defence.

“Many teams struggle, sometimes offensively against us,” Lalli said. “Even if we can’t get anything going offensively our defence is what we build the foundation of our team on.”

The Cougars also had a successful weekend, placing fourth.

Jennifer Anderson, coach of the Cougars senior girls, said the team finished fourth, beating Valemount and losing once to the Thunder and once to Correlieu in the bronze-medal game.

Anderson said the team’s roster of Erica Webber, Shaelyn Wintjes, Annie Blois, Kaylee Dueck, Nisha Khan, Simran Boyal and Becky Caeppel are a dedicated, intense batch of players with strong rebounding skills and teamwork.

Webber led the Cougars in scoring throughout the weekend while Dueck dropped 16 against Valemont to lead all scorers.

Anderson added the Cougars plan to attend upcoming tournaments in Quesnel, Prince George and Valemount and hope to continue to keep improving.

Meanwhile the Thunder are currently preparing to host the North Central Zone Championships from Feb. 21-23 at Williams Lake Secondary School. Only one team from the zone will move on to the BC High School Basketball Provincial Championships.

“We placed second last year at zones,” Lalli said. “This year our goals are very high.

“Our expectations are set pretty high, and I think it would be a disappointment to us if we didn’t win, or come in at the top two.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wells mining camp worker tests positive for COVID-19

A worker at a mining camp tested positive for the coronavirus after leaving the camp.

Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2020 opens Aug. 7

This year’s event features 27 businesses and 28 artists

Rodeo clinic, ranch visit entertains First Nations youth and elders in B.C.’s Interior

A fun time had for Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation at C+ Rodeos

Studies show Mount Polley Mine breach material re-suspends in Quesnel Lake

High copper levels continue in Quesnel River six years after breach

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Interior Health expands COVID-19 testing access in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve, no-appointment-needed testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

Most Read