Tamanawis Wildcat Miguel Tomley drives to the hoop during the final game in the 2016 Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic. (File photo)

California competition gives Tamanawis an edge in high school hoops

The senior boys team played four games and watched UCLA in action last month

Nothing like a little California trip to motivate a basketball team.

Before the ball dropped on the 2017-18 B.C. high school basketball season, the senior boys’ basketball team at Tamanawis Secondary embarked on a trip down south to play against high school teams from California.

Playing against schools with coveted basketball programs is one way to kick-start your season.

“We try to set up games against the States at the beginning of the year,” said assistant coach Par Bains.

The early exhibition games against American teams has paid off for the senior boys at Tamanawis. The team won the Fraser Valley banner in both 2014 and 2016.

Going into the 2017-18 B.C. high school basketball season, the Wildcats are ranked second in the province.

This year, Bains noted that the competition was tough in Newport Beach, California.

“It was a good, competitive tournament, said Bains. “We were playing against some of the top public teams down there, teams that were stronger, bigger and faster.”

Compared to the competition up in Canada, the experience was entirely different for the senior boys’ team.

“They’re much bigger physically and a lot of the players have better speed. The teams are much more intense in terms of defence and offence.”

Considering that they were playing against strong teams, Tamanawis fared well in four games against some of their American counterparts.

They registered two wins and two losses in the tournament, and Bains mentioned that they had chances to win in both of the two losses.

Tamanawis lost their first two games, but rebounded with two victories to head out from California on a winning note.

The team also got another cool opportunity, when they went to watch a UCLA college basketball game.

“The boys had a good time,” said Bains. “They enjoyed learning about the history of the stadium for a small town.

“A lot of them have seen CIS games before. Those games have 100 to 200 in the regular season, and maybe 400 to 500 for the playoffs.

“On a good night, you might get 1,000 for a playoff game.”

“Down there, you get about 12,000 fans every night and the games are played in a 15,000 seat stadium.”

While the trip is an eye-opener both in terms of competition and culture, it provides the team with an edge heading into the season.

The whole trip, it’s something to motivate the kids to work harder to get to that level.” Bains said. “It’s also a chance to see how physically developed some of these kids are.

If the team wants further motivation of the levels they can reach, they shouldn’t have to look any further than Sukhjot Bains. The Wildcats alumnus just signed on to play in NCAA Div. 1 basketball with Wisconsin/Green Bay earlier this year.

Even on their own team, Miguel Tomley signed a letter of intent to play college basketball once he graduates.

With other key players such as Akash Dhaliwal and Jeevan Sidhu, the Wildcats should once again be a force this season. They also have former head coach Mike McKay back on board this season as head coach once again.

In their first game of the season, they came away with a 100-43 victory against Elgin Park.

“We’re hoping to do well in our league, play well in our tournaments and try to win championships,” Bains said.

“It’s a building process. Kids are working hard, and they have a bit more of an edge right now after playing teams down there.”


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