The Summerland Secondary School senior boys Rockets basketball team will compete in the Valleys in Vernon this weekend, but the senior girls are out of the tournament after narrowly losing their final game.
Kevin Lodermeier, coach of the senior boys, said his team finished third in league play, despite having just eight players on the roster.
In the first round of playoffs, the team lost by one to Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton. From that game, the Rockets had to beat Okanagan Mission, which they did.
Lodermeier said the team’s strengths were in outside shooting and defense.
While the team has many strong players, he said Josh Thornton was exceptional.
“He’s the glue that held the team,” he said. “He has aspirations of playing university ball next year.”
The members of the team have been playing together since Grade 8, but the Valleys will put them against some of the strongest competition they have encountered to date.
Oliver Secondary School is ranked sixth in the province while Clarence Fulton Secondary School in Vernon is ranked fourth. Sa-Hali Secondary School in Kamloops now has the second place team in the province.
For the senior girls, the season ended last week with 59-57 loss to Princess Margaret Secondary School.
“They just couldn’t quite shoot in the first half,” said Linda Bergstrom, coach of the team.
The win would have taken the girls to the finals.
Bergstrom said the two teams have been close in league play.
They have faced each other five times, with Summerland winning two of the games. Three of the games were decided by less than two points.
Bergstrom said the team has done exceptionally well this year and finished its season ranked fourth in the Okanagan.
However, because there were only two spots to the Valleys and because there were numerous other strong teams in the region, Summerland’s opportunity slipped away.
Bergstrom said eight of the 10 players on the team this year were in Grade 11.
“They’ve done really well for a young team,” she said. “I’m proud of my girls.”
For next year, when they return, she expects the team will dominate on the basketball court.