It’s tough enough that all Merritt Secondary School Grade 8 sports teams must play 90 percent of their games away from home because of the Kamloops school district’s byzantine policies regarding travel.
The situation gets even worse when wintery weather conditions get added to the mix.
Merritt Secondary’s Grade 8 boys team didn’t let a full-blown snowstorm on the Coquihalla deter them as they travelled to Kamloops Tuesday night and upset the St. Ann’s Crusaders 39-37 in a thrilling game that was decided with just 2.3 seconds left in the game.
The MSS boys’ achievement was all the more amazing given that coach Gian Cavaliere’s squad consists of just six players.
“The boys played their hearts out and were very happy when they pulled off the victory,” said Cavaliere.
Leading scorer for the MSS boys was Sam McNiven with 13 points while Fred Ware added nine.
The two-point boys’ win on Tuesday avenged a one-point loss to the same Crusaders team a night earlier in a rare game played on Merritt’s home turf.
With just over three seconds left in overtime on Monday, the Crudaders sank their only three-pointer of the night to edge the Panthers 49-48.
McNiven had a game high 24 points in Monday’s loss, while Ware chipped in with 14 points and Keenan Wudrich contributed eight.
Thanks to their upset win over St. Ann’s on Tuesday, Merritt’s Grade 8 boys team was slated to play the Sa-Hali Sabres on Wednesday night in their next playoff game. Results of that game were not available by the time this paper went to press.
The MSS Grade 8 girls weren’t quite so fortunate this week in their games versus St. Ann’s.
The Panther ladies fell 25-22 to the Crusaders at home on Monday in one of their best games of the season.
“The girls have improved so much,” said head coach Nicole Bouchard. “At the beginning of the year, we had some players with almost no basketball experience. Now they’re playing help-side defence, posting up, rebounding. We just need to sink a few more shots.”
Top scorers for the MSS girls side were Sumeeti Chhabra and Jamie Neil with eight points each.
The Grade 8 girls squad had a tougher go of things in its rematch with St. Ann’s on Tuesday, losing 43-8.
Both Grade 8 teams hit the road yet again on Thursday for exhibition games in Princeton.