Sports

Panthers advance

Kelsey Robinson of the Clayton Heights Nightriders drives past Emily Dykemon of Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers on her way to the hoop during Tuesday’s Junior girls high school playoff game. Lord Tweedsmuir won 39-31. - EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER
Kelsey Robinson of the Clayton Heights Nightriders drives past Emily Dykemon of Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers on her way to the hoop during Tuesday’s Junior girls high school playoff game. Lord Tweedsmuir won 39-31.
— image credit: EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER

Upsets in sudden-death playoff games claimed three of the top eight seeds in the Fraser Valley Tuesday night, including the Surrey Junior girls champion Clayton Heights Nightriders.

Clayton Heights, seeded fifth in the 24-team playoff which reduces the field to eight for this weekend’s Fraser Valley Championship Tournament, was surprised by the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 39-31 Tuesday afternoon at Fleetwood Park Secondary School.

The Nightriders were unbeaten in league play, and in December handed Lord Tweedsmuir their only loss, winning 31-16.

Clayton Heights scored the first six points of the game, but trailed by one after the opening quarter and at half-time. They were up by just four when the Nightriders tried to claw their way back. Rochelle Smith stripped a ball from a Panther opponent, and fed Kelsey Robinson for a bucket that cut the difference to 25-23 with three minutes to play.

But Kelly-Ann Draayers put a rebound into the basket, then Cara Bagry hit a three point shot that sparked a 10-2 run for the Panthers, which put the game out of reach.

Bagry hit four treys in the game, finishing with 16 points, while Jodie Hynek went six-for-10 from the free throw line and scored 11 for the Panthers.

Clayton Heights got 20 points from Robinson, which included six buckets in a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.

Lord Tweedsmuir opened against the Riverside Rapids yesterday (Thursday) at the eight-team Fraser Valley tournament. Three teams will qualify for the provincials.

- The Tamanawis Wildcats will be the lone team from Surrey at the Junior boys tournament at Sardis Secondary School in Chilliwack.

The Wildcats, seeded seventh for the playoffs, defeated the M.E.I. Eagles 68-54 at a sudden-death playoff game they hosted Tuesday.

Unbeaten in league play, Tamanawis tipped-off against the second-seed Pinetree Timberwolves.

Falling just short of qualifying for the tournament were the fifth-seed Fleetwood Park Dragons, who hosted the 12th-seed Walnut Grove Gators and lost 68-65.

“They were a little less hungry than Walnut Grove,” said Fleetwood Park coach Kerry Taylor of the setback.

After jumping to a 13-6 lead in the opening quarter, the Dragons didn’t trail until late in the second quarter. They cut a seven-point deficit to one in the fourth period, only to have the Gators shut the door.

Tsaro Neal topped the Fleetwood Park offence with 20 points, followed by Gavin Dhanoi with 16 and Vinnie Chand with 14.

Also coming close were the Clayton Heights Nightriders, winners of the Surrey RCMP Classic in January. Seeded eighth, they lost 64-58 in Chilliwack to the Yale Lions. The Queen Elizabeth Royals were in Pitt Meadows Tuesday, where they were eliminated 75-36 by the host Marauders.

sports@surreyleader.com

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