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It took until the fourth quarter for the MSS junior girls’ basketball team to garner their first lead of the game, but once in front, they never looked back. The Panthers got nine points each from Victoria Bob and Montanna Leverre in a thrilling 29-26 come-from-behind victory over the visiting St. Ann’s Crusaders on Monday night at the former Coquihalla Middle School gym.
Coach Leroy Slanzi’s junior girls squad used a stifling zone defence and a strong transition game to wear down the visitors and overcome an early deficit that saw them trailing 13-9 at half-time.
With two of his three post players absent for the game, Slanzi got big minutes in the paint from Gabby Zabek who rebounded effectively at both ends of the floor and chipped in with seven points. Guard Ashley Evdokimoss added eight points and wing Haley Bennett seven.
The all-Grade 9 MSS junior girls team has a busy schedule this week. Wednesday and Thursday, it was slated to play at Brock and Westsyde respectively in Kamloops. Friday, the team is off to Penticton for a two-day tournament. Merritt Secondary’s first game is against Mt. Baker, a AAA-school from Cranbrook that is ranked eighth in the province.
In junior boys’ action on Monday, a very inexperienced MSS team, coached by Brent Bowden, was no match for a veteran Crusaders side that used a strong press to constantly force turnovers. The visitors raced out to a 17-0 lead before the first quarter was over, and then went on to win 63-12. Leading MSS scorer was Jesse Cunningham with four points.
Minor hockey round-up
The Merritt Tracker Sports midget reps picked up their third league win of the season on Sunday, defeating Chase 5-4 at the Shulus arena.
Riley Barnes’ second goal of the game, with just 5:39 remaining in the third period, proved to be the winner in the rough-and-tumble contest that saw 54 minutes in penalties handed out. Other Merritt scorers were Zach Sanderson, Malik Miller and Dakota Cox. Kristian Stead picked up the win in net.
Also on the weekend, the Merritt LNB atoms defeated Ashcroft 7-1. Scoring for the Jr. Cents were Jacob Buxton (4), Leif Ellingsen, Caleb Bracket and Josh Desmond.
During the Christmas holidays, Merritt’s Fountain Tire atom reps attended a tournament in Abbotsford. The team went 3-2 in their five games to finish fourth overall. Round robin wins came over Port Coquitlam (6-3), Aldergrove (7-2) and the host team (4-1). In semi-final action, Merritt lost 3-0 to Mission, then fell 6-3 to Port Coquitlam in the B final.
Scorers for the Merritt atom team were Spencer Vaughan (7), Talon Zakall (6), Ethan Thygesen (4), Matthew Newman (2) and Breanna Ouellet.
There’s a busy schedule of minor hockey games at the Shulus arena this weekend:
1:15 Jr. Girls vs. Ashcroft
3:00 Peewee Reps vs. Winfield
5:15 Bantam House vs Clearwater
10:30 Bantam Reps vs. Revelstoke
12:45 Peewee Reps vs. Kamloops
3:00 Sr. Girls vs. Kam-loops
Pozzobon 26th at MSG
Merritt cowboy Ty Pozzobon opened his 2013 Built Ford Tough Series season with a 26th place finish at the Monster Energy Invitiational at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. Pozzobon was successful on one of his three rides, scoring 83.25 on Bone Handle Friday night.
In 2012, Pozzobon finished 20th overall on the BFTS with over $106,000 in earnings from 26 events throughout North America. The next Built Ford Tough event is at the Allstate Arena in Chicago this weekend.
Men’s curling bonspiel this weekend
Over 20 teams from around the Okanagan and Lower Mainland are expected to take part in this weekend’s men’s curling bonspiel at the Merritt Curling Centre.
The first draw is on Friday at 6 p.m. Action continues all day Saturday through to the A, B and C event finals early Sunday afternoon.