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

Just Posted

B.C.’s parliament buildings in Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
Surrey gets two cabinet ministers, a parliamentary secretary and government whip

Premier John Horgan’s NDP MLAs were sworn in on Tuesday and the cabinet was revealed Thursday afternoon

Steve ‘Elvis’ Elliott performs for residents of Amica White Rock. Exercise-to-music programs that led to a threat of city fines due to a noise complaint are to resume next week. (Contributed file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Amica White Rock

Peace Portal Seniors Village outbreak declared over

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Brenda Locke trying to breathe life into Surrey’s defunct Public Safety Committee

Surrey councillor’s motion will be up for debate at a future council meeting

The Festival of Lights; Jingle Bell White Rock; and the Lighted Boat Parade all helped light up the White Rock waterfront on Saturday, Dec. 7. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Festival of Lights postponed

While event founder remains optimistic, the future of this year’s display is uncertain

RCMP logo
Keen-eyed neighbour’s call to police helps stop South Surrey burglary in progress

Mounties were on the way before suspects triggered home alarm

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

Most Read