Grade 8 Huskies perform on, off court

NORTH DELTA – Since taking control of the North Delta Secondary Grade 8 basketball team five years ago, Jesse Hundal and Gary Sandhu built a team that has been by far the best in the city.

 

Over the past half-decade, the duo has led their teams to a 57-4 record in the Delta basketball league, including back-toback undefeated seasons over the past two campaigns.

 

"We’ve seen the basketball program grow by leaps and bounds because of commitment from the boys and the girls in the school," said Hundal.

 

"We have practices at 7 a.m.," Sandhu added. "Sometimes these guys are there at 6:30."

 

However, all that success had come to an end when the Huskies reached the second round of the Fraser Valley Championships. The squad hasn’t managed to make it past that point under the guidance of Hundal and Sandhu, but the coaches believe this is their year.

 

The team has won four tournaments this season – L.A. Matheson, the North Delta Invitational, Fleetwood Invitational and Seaquam. Last Thursday (Feb. 12), they won the Delta league final with a 52-34 victory over Delta Secondary and now move on to the Fraser Valley playoffs, which begin today (Tuesday, Feb. 17, updates at Fvbball.org).

 

Vital the team’s success are players Suraj Gahir, Arun Atker and Bhavraj Thiara, who play with DRIVE Basketball and are three of the most accurate shooters in Huskies history.

 

"I didn’t think it was possible to see kids who put up 10 shots and score eight of them. Against Fleetwood Park … we hit 18

 

three-pointers. It’s something I’ve never even seen," said Sandhu.

 

Pasha Bains, co-founder, director and head coach of DRIVE, said Gahir and Atker have played in close to 200 Amateur Athletic Union games each, which is one reason why they are so comfortable playing at the high school level.

 

"(Thiara) is a little bit raw still, so we’re just trying to improve his skill level because he just started," Bains said. "With (Gahir) and (Atker), confidence is definitely not the issue. They have more than enough of it. It’s more about refining their skills."

 

Due to the players’ high skill level, the coaches have had to tweak their practices to make sure all of their players are being

 

challenged.

 

"We run these guys like senior-level players because we know they’re so talented. We have to have an expectation or a compete level that’s so high to keep these guys engaged," said Sandhu.

 

In many cases, the North Delta coaches have asked senior players and alumni to come and help out with practices so they become accustom to playing against bigger and stronger teams.

 

"The rewards of the program for me are when I get former players to come back and help out," Hundal said. "To me, that’s the greatest honour in the relationships that I’ve built with these guys."

 

Sandhu said one of the reasons he took

 

the job at North Delta was for an initiative called Husky Pride.

 

"If you come here during the lunch hour or during a basketball game, you see it. You feel it. It’s something you can’t artificially create. It comes from the students," he said.

 

The basketball program has not only seen success in the wins column, but also off the court as the team showed how teammates care for each other.

 

Sandhu said one of the players isn’t in the best financial situation and was wearing old shoes because his parents couldn’t afford to buy him a new pair. Without saying anything, another boy’s brother brought him his old basketball shoes, the coach said.

 

The shoes didn’t fit, but it only motivated the team to come together to help out their friend.

 

"These guys got together and pooled their money, gave it to us and Mr. Hundal bought him some brand new Nikes," said Sandhu. "It was a good team moment for them. You can’t teach them to have that kind of compassion for someone. That’s what Husky Pride is.

 

"It makes all of the hours you spend worth it. Just that split second," he added.

 

kyle.benning@gmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read