For the first time in more than 20 years, the Summerland Secondary School senior girls basketball team is heading off to the AA Girls Provincial Championships.
The Rockets earned the berth on the weekend by placing third in the Okanagan Valley Championships held in Kamloops.
Summerland, which was ranked fourth going into the tournament, came out strong in their opening game against fifth-ranked Kalamalka from Vernon.
The Rockets dominated the game and finished with a 76-36 victory. Summerland’s scoring was led by Chloe Kennedy with 22, Lauren Antonovitch with 20 and Shannon Parker with 15. Chipping in four each were Amber Lee Watson, Abi Meeten, Sarah Bergstrom and Grace Manders.
In Friday’s semi final, Summerland met the top team in the valley, SaHali. The Rockets came out strong against the excellent Kamloops team, which is ranked fourth in the province.
Summerland played outstanding defense and held SaHali to 20 points in the first half, posting a midway score of 18-20. SaHali’s strong defense in the second half slowed the Rockets offense and the Kamloops girls ended up posting a 34-50 victory.
Shannon Parker had an incredible game, both defensively and offensively and led the Rockets with 15 points. Sydney Clement had nine, while Meeten and Antonovitch had six each.
Saturday morning the Rockets played Okanagan Mission.
After a slow start the Rockets took control of the game and went on to a 59-42 victory.
Parker was once again the leading scorer as she netted 15 points. Antonovitch had 14, Meeten and Manders eight each, Kennedy seven and Clement six. Summerland showed the strength of their team depth as very tight refereeing saw a lot of girls in foul trouble and all members of the team stepping in to fill important roles in the play.
In their final game, Summerland came up against their arch rivals, the Oliver Hornets.
The Rockets had recently been defeated by the Hornets in their zone playoff game. The game was an excellent, hard fought battle by both teams and Oliver led Summerland by narrow margins most of the game.
In the final quarter, the Rockets rallied and pulled ahead of Oliver by three points in the final minute. Oliver showed great poise and sank a three pointer in the dying seconds to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In the five minute overtime period the lead changed hands several times and in the end the Rockets scored crucial free throws by Ellen Rutherford and Sydney Clement to put Summerland up by three.
The Rockets held on for a 69-66 win.
Chloe Kennedy and Lauren Antonovitch had outstanding offensive and defensive games for Summerland, netting 21 and 20 points respectively. Parker and Clement had eight each and Rutherford four.
Oliver, which also earned a berth in the provincials, was led by the incredible shooting of Ashley McGinnis who had seven three-pointers and a total of 31 points.
Emily Jentsch, despite playing limited minutes on an injured ankle, was also outstanding with 14 points.
Parker was recognized for her outstanding play and defensive hustle by being named to the Okanagan Valley all-star team.
The Rockets head off to the provincials in Kamloops March 6 to 10.