The Southridge Storm have another Fraser Valley boys basketball banner to add to their collection.
On Feb. 22, the Storm won their third Fraser Valley AA boys hoops championship with a 73-62 win over Pacific Academy. Both schools, plus third-place Delview, advance to provincialis, which begin Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.
“We’ve always been in the mix (at Fraser Valleys), we’ve won it three times and finished second a few times, too, but it’s nice to win it again,” said Storm coach Steve Anderson.
Southridge headed into the Fraser Valley tournament with a 5-4 record in league play, but they didn’t play like a middle-of-the-pack team at Valleys, which – aside from first-round games – were hosted by G.W. Graham Secondary in Chilliwack.
“We weren’t really one of the favourites, but we knew what we had, and we just peaked at the right time,” said Anderson. “We started playing better attention to details on defence.”
In the first round, Southridge – seeded third – defeated No. 5 Thomas Haney 92-50, but games were much tougher the rest of the way.
The next game, Southridge edged No. 2 seed Archbishop Carney by a single point – 73-72 – and in semifinals snuck past Delview by the exact same score.
In the latter game, Southridge trailed by 16 points with seven minutes remaining, before storming back for the win.
“Two one-point games… nothing is easy,” Anderson said.
Coming into the tournament as an underdog, Anderson said he could see his team’s confidence growing with every game, and he hopes it will continue to blossom.
“When we got to just eight teams left (at Valleys), we felt like we had the ability to do it,” he said. “And once we won semifinals, and already had a spot in provincials, the guys didn’t let up. You could tell that they knew the job was not done.”
Southridge’s first game at provincials is against Gibson’s Elphinstone Secondary, with tipoff at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Anderson hopes his team’s provincial run will be buoyed by the return of Grade 12 guard, and co-captain, Austin Chang, who has missed nearly the entire season with a serious knee injury.
“It’s just fantastic that he’s maybe going to be able to come back. He’s very happy about it, and I think it’ll give the team a boost.”