When Fleetwood Park Dragons repeated as Goodwill Classic champs on Jan. 7, the Kanagasabay sisters could only watch and cheer from the bench, due to knee injuries that prevented them from playing in the final of the all-Surrey girls tournament.
It’s too bad, because they just want a shot at playing together — even just once, before the season ends and the elder Sahana leaves for Rhode Island.
Currently in Grade 12, Sahana Kanagasabay has been recruited by Providence College Friars to play NCAA Div. 1 basketball next fall, blazing a trail for younger sibling Anushka Kanagasabay, now in Grade 10, to possibly follow suit in a couple of years.
“Every time we’ve tried to play together, something has come up,” Anushka said during the Dragons’ semifinal game on Jan. 6. “Hopefully it happens soon – hopefully a couple games at least, it’d be really fun.”
Family obviously means everything for the sisters, who were inspired to play hoops by older brother Abishek Kanagasabay, a 2020 Fleetwood Park grad who now studies at UBC.
“I think he’s the reason we both started playing basketball,” Sahana said as Anushka smiled and nodded. “We were in competitive gymnastics when we were younger, and I started playing basketball for AthElite (academy in Surrey) because my brother did. We used to go watch his games, and we both just got more interested in the sport. Our mom put us in a youth league and it just went from there.”
— Sahana Kanagasabay (@sahanakan5) September 14, 2022
— ProvidenceWBB (@ProvidenceWBB) November 9, 2022
Sahana, a five-11 guard/forward, averaged 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Dragons last season.
She’s an “exciting athlete who has good length and the ability to guard multiple positions,” according to Providence head coach Jim Crowley. “She is very solid in transition, can get to the rim and passes the ball very well. Sahana plays very hard and gets better every time we see her.”
“It’s a really good school with good academics, too, and Rhode Island is really nice place,” Sahana beamed. “I was able to go for a visit in September with my Mom. It was super cool, and I’m happy I picked Providence, because I had a couple of other offers. I’m happy it all worked out and I’m going there.”
Sahana injured a knee during December’s Tsumura Basketball Invitational tournament in Langley, and has since been sidelined.
“I’m out for only another month or so,” she said, “and I don’t want to risk coming back early. If I’m able to come back 100 per cent in February, maybe March, in time for provincials, then I’ll come back. But I want to make sure I’m 100 per cent because I don’t want to risk anything.”
Likewise, with a similar injury, Anushka has played limited minutes this season. She dressed for the Dragons’ opening game at the Goodwill Classic on Jan. 3, off the bench.
“We’d only heard she’s good, and we’ve been waiting three years to see her in action,” said Amber Forsythe, who co-coaches Fleetwood Park, with Pam Reynolds. “In the game against Semi (Semiahmoo), in the few minutes she played, she was really good, just insane how well she played. We were like, wow! We’d only watched Sahana over the past couple of years. We’re hoping they get to play together here soon.
“It’s a great story to see them succeed like they have,” Forsythe added. “For Sahana to go to Providence, that’s amazing. We’re so proud of her.”
With the Kanagasabays out of the lineup, for now, the Dragons are led by others including Grade 10 standout Saavyn Mann and Parneet Gill, who graduates this year.
“We have several players who’ve stepped up this season,” added Forsythe.