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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Surrey stabbing leaves man with ‘potentially life altering injuries’

Police believe an altercation between two people led to the incident, in the 13700-block of 97A Ave.

Kids Boost Immunity honours Surrey school for vaccine donations

Elementary students donate more than 3,000 vaccinations to UNICEF

Teen charged with possession of a loaded firearm after incident at Whalley park

Surrey RCMP say 17-year-old boy allegedly found in possession of loaded handgun

VIDEO: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The German shepherd had to be sedated and was in treatment for more than two hours

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

5 to start your day

Death in Surrey being probed by homicide investigators, FOI offers top dog names in White Rock and more

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants fall in overtime

Team still leads WHL series against Spokane

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Most Read