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Thunder game-plan topples Tweedsmuir

Panorama Ridge prevails in battle between provincial powers at Fire Fighter’s Goodwill Classic
Savannah Dhaliwal of the Panorama Ridge Thunder reaches for a loose ball during Saturday’s championship game of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Goodwill Classic at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary. Dhaliwal

At an all-Surrey tournament, the Panorama Ridge Thunder made some noise which was heard across B.C.

The Thunder, ranked fifth among the province’s best senior girls high school basketball teams, upset the fourth-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 76-71 in the championship game of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Goodwill Classic Saturday evening at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.

“We’re learning how to play against teams in the top 10,” said Thunder head coach John Sowerby after the first-ever Fire Fighters’ championship for Panorama Ridge. “This is the first time (this season) we’ve beaten a team in the top five.

“We know we can compete with everybody, but to have an actual result against someone in the top five, I’m proud of the girls, they did well.”

Panorama Ridge had to be at the top of their game for the full 40 minutes Saturday night, as the Panthers kept the score close for much of the game.

After the Thunder raced to an early seven-point lead, Tweedsmuir went on a 20-7 run to take a 26-20 lead late in the first half. Panorama Ridge reclaimed a narrow 33-31 lead by halftime, and although they stretched their advantage to 10 points early in the second half, weren’t able to put the game away until the final minute as the Panthers got as close as five points several times only to run out of time.

“We spent a lot of time going over what we had to do,” Sowerby said. “We actually had a practice this morning, going over exactly how we want to play them.”

And while Sowerby was adamant it wasn’t a perfect performance, he was quick to add it was “close enough.”

Savannah Dhaliwal was the top scorer for the Thunder with 27 points, and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Arsh Gill added 14 points for Panorama, with Arman Sahota and Simrit Dosanjh adding 10 each.

Maryn Budiman, despite being a subject in the Thunder game plan, paced Tweedsmuir with 29 points. She also drew praise from the winning coach.

“We just kept people at home in the key, and guarded Maryn. And she still got (close to) 30. The kid is amazing.”

Gill, Budiman and Tweedsmuir’s Shelvin Grewal were named to the tournament Dream Team of 15 all-stars.

Other players selected were Jasmine Hamilton and Shea McMartin of the Earl Marriott Mariners, Tanika Bonneville of the Elgin Park Orcas, Jada Jordan of the Fleetwood Park Dragons, Jasdeep Brar of the Frank Hurt Hornets, Amanda Pearson of the Fraser Heights Firehawks, Helen Odong of the Guildford Park Sabres, Jaya Sandhu of the Holy Cross Crusaders, Cassie Shokar of the North Surrey Spartans, Sydney Smith of the Pacific Academy Breakers, Emma Kramer of the Sullivan Heights Stars and Izzy Forsythe of the Semiahmoo Totems.

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