BASKETBALL: North Delta Secondary Huskies ranked among top teams in B.C.

The Huskies sit in third place in B.C. after winning the Burnaby South Rod Thomson Memorial Tournament last week.

North Delta Secondary Huskies junior boys basketball team after winning the Burnaby South Rod Thomson Memorial Tournament on Dec. 16.

It’s been a heck of a season so far for North Delta Secondary’s junior boys basketball team.

After starting the year at the top of the provincial pre-season rankings, the Huskies have fought their way to third place and are hoping to improve on that before the season is over.

Coach Gary Sandhu said the team knows what is expected of them if they want to play alongside B.C.’s other high-level teams.

“They understand that 7 a.m. practices, hitting the weight room, working on individual skills outside of the season and dry land training in the summer with your teammates are all needed to compete with the best teams in B.C.,” he said. “The sheer will to not let your opponent beat you is a quality that can’t be taught; it has to be a quality that your players have to believe in and work for everyday in practice.”

This year marks North Delta Secondary’s 60th anniversary and a win at provincials would be a monumental way to celebrate.

To help the team reach its goals, Sandhu and fellow coach Jesse Hundal, reached out to former Huskies coach Bill Edwards, who led the school to three provincial titles back in the 80s and 90s, bringing him back as the team’s resource and development coach.

Sandhu said bringing Edwards back has improved the team’s performance and credits him for helping the team rank so highly this year.

In addition, Sandhu said bringing players in at an early age is essential to building a strong team.

The Huskies proved just how strong they are when they won the top spot at last weekend’s Burnaby South Rod Thomson Memorial Tournament, defeating some of the top teams in B.C., including the Burnaby South Secondary Rebels (ranked second in B.C.) and the Sir. Charles Tupper Secondary Tigers (ranked fifth).

Huskies captain Suraj Gahir scored 37 points in the team’s 75-69 semi-final win over the Tigers, including a half-court buzzer-beater to force the game into overtime.

“It was crazy, I couldn’t believe he got the shot in,” Sandhu said.

The Huskies went on to beat the Rebels 58-42 in the tournament final.

Gahir said playing in the tournament, “felt good, because it was a good crowd and there was great competition.”

For Sandhu, the key to the team’s success has been their ability to keep their cool while on the court and, no matter the score, remain poised and unrattled.

“They are very tough to play against because they are calm,” he said.

The goal of the season is to push to make the final four in March’s provincial championship at the Langley Events Centre, but the Huskies have a long way to go before then, including several more tournaments in the new year.

Sandhu believes the team’s philosophy of hard work will bring them victory.

“No team will outwork us on the defensive side of the ball because we take playing defence personally,” he said.