Southridge Storm finish league play undefeated
If the Southridge Storm's senior boys basketball team is to enjoy any post-season success, it'll be the squad's senior players who do the heavy lifting, says head coach Steve Anderson.
"I'm a firm believer that any team success you have is based on your seniors. You might have some good (younger players), but from a leadership standpoint, your senior lead you," Anderson said.
"They drive the bus."
And if that's the case, the Storm would appear to be in good hands, as the team's elder statesmen – all nine of them – have already led the AA boys team to an impressive regular season.
After an 85-57 win earlier this week over D.W. Poppy Secondary, the Storm – currently No. 5 in B.C. AA rankings – finished their league schedule with a flawless 6-0 record, and a 14-10 mark overall, including exhibition and tournament games, many of which came against triple-A competition.
Against Poppy, the Storm got scoring from nearly all spots on the roster. Seniors Shahbaj Dhillon and Ben Severide led the charge, with 19 and 14 points, respectively, while fellow Grade 12s Jonathan Yu, who had nine points and five rebounds, and Mayaz Alam, who had an 11-point, 10-rebound effort, also chipped in.
"It's been a pretty good year, overall," Anderson said.
"And I think we're putting ourselves in a good position now (to make a run)."
The players, too, are confident, the coach added, and the recent winning streak has only boosted their morale. He doesn't expect the pressure of playoffs will adversely affect his group, either.
"A lot of these guys have been in pressure-packed situations the last few years," Anderson said. "Guys like Jonathan Yu – he's been on the team three years now, so this is a group that knows what to expect, and I think they're ready for it.
"For us, our motto is 'no excuses' – they know what they need to do."
Fraser Valley Championships begin Feb. 18 at Archbishop Carney Secondary in Port Coquitlam. If the Storm, who will enter the tournament as one of the favourites to win it, finish in the top four they'll qualify for a sixth consecutive trip to provincial championships, slated for Kamloops next month.
The Storm's nine senior players will be honoured Thursday evening at the South Surrey school, during a game between the current senior boys squad and a team of Southridge alumni.
In addition to Dhillon, Severide, Yu and Alam, the team will recognize graduating Grade 12s Cameron Adams, Liam MacDonald, Josh Mays-Quinn, Justin Pannu and Jonathan Shu.