THE HIGHLAND RAIDERS are off to the Island championships this weekend.

Highland Raiders at Island championships

Senior boys basketball team is unique to B.C. high school sports

The Highland Raiders senior boys’ basketball team just keeps getting better and better.

This group of boys is unique to B.C. high school sports. Where most teams in the province don’t allow their athletes to compete in multiple sports and many coaches feel by the senior level players should be choosing one sport to focus on, these Highland athletes seem to want to do it all. They somehow manage to pull it all off and do it well.

This year the senior volleyball team were top six in the province and five of the boys on the volleyball team also make up  the core of the basketball team.  Sam Lewis, Chris Dodd, Trenton Cameron, Spencer McDougall and Jared Collin were all starters on the Island’s # 1 volleyball team and transferred over to comprise the basketball team. It should also be noted that Aaron Simmonds, Trenton Cameron and John Nwokoro also played on the school soccer team which won North Islands this year.

The team also boasts having probably the only Jr. B hockey player in Glacier King Liam Shaw and also Rep hockey player Conor Luty.    Many of the boys are also honour roll students and Cameron is in the IB program.

This Raiders team is heading into Islands this weekend tied for third place and are ranked 10th in the province.  The teams ranked first and second (Lambrick and SMU)  are also ranked first and second in the province, making this the toughest division of AA AAA and AAAA  on the Island. Highland has played and beat some of the top ranked AAA and AAAA teams this season in tournament play.   To take a top three place at Islands this weekend is the goal and it will be a tough order, but one the small group are up for.

This team has been together since Grade 8 and since that time, the numbers have dwindled with a couple of key players moving.  One of these players was 6’7” star Nick Tancon who left in Grade 11 to play in Denmark.  Since coming back to his former teammates and friends at Highland, Tancon has led the team to the highly ranked position they are in now.  He is a force to be reckoned with and the competition does not have an answer for him.   He’s not just tall, he’s talented. Nick has been given offers from numerous CIS schools for next year.

The backcourt of the Raiders’ team is one that has been tough to match by other teams.  The starting backcourt, consisting of Lewis, Cameron and Collin complement Tancon’s unstoppable inside game.  As soon as the defence collapses on Tancon, the three shooters step in.   The three each contribute consistently.  Each has had games where individually they have scored six, seven or eight three-pointers.  When one cools off the others heat up.   All three are able to shoot, but are not afraid to mix it up inside as well.

The ball handling of Lewis, the consistency and defence of Cameron, and Collin’s uncanny knack for drawing fouls is crucial to this team’s success.

McDougall (also a hockey player), Luty and Simmonds all step into the tough centre position and shake things up themselves – Simmonds and Luty with inside presence and McDougall with his finesse under the basket.

Adding to this is the tenacious defence of Chris Dodd.  The volleyball Island MVP  and hockey player doesn’t claim to be a shooter (he says he gets more goals in a hockey game than points in a basketball game) but his defence has proven to be one of  Highland’s other secret weapons.  His role is to muzzle the opponents’ stars and he does that in spades.

Coming to the team this year were new players to Highland, Quentin Bouchard and John Nwokoro, who have given quality minutes. Bouchard used his court time well adding four three-pointers this season.

The team was lucky to get coach Murray Erickson back to Highland this year. He coached most of the boys in their junior year and they were happy that he could give them another year and a trip to Islands.

 

– Highland Raiders

 

 

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