A new basketball season has started and the 45th edition of the Vanier Towhees will be an exciting group to watch play.
There are no home games until Jan. 15. Until then, the lads will be in Victoria, Chilliwack, White Rock, New Westminster, San Diego and then back to Victoria. By then, we should be ready for the first league game and home opener against Dover Bay, and then the same week the Towhee Tournament.
Coach Larry Street loves this game. He also knows that every year is different, and each set of players brings something else to the table that previous teams didn’t. “Seniors always play like seniors, and new players always have plenty of enthusiasm but lack experience. This year’s group of Towhees are no different, but I also admit that we are so fortunate that they all, to the last man, like and respect each other tremendously,” Street said.
“This is a smart team, an aggressive team and a shorter-than-average team. Therefore, rebounding and defence will be priorities for us. We think this group is starting to get it. The scoring will come, but the best part of this team will be its quickness, determination and togetherness. Once we learn how to play by gaining valuable experience, then the smarts kick in and we develop a better understanding for the game — respecting the game of basketball and embracing it.”
Street says captains Scott Stevens and Jaron Piercy — both multi-faceted players — will only get better with the addition of talented point guard Joaquin Paterna, who is an exchange student from Madrid, Spain. “Possibly one of the top guards in the province, Joaquin will also be asked to take Grade 11s Joss Biggins and Foster Dewitt to a new level,” Street said.
Entered into the mix with be two key Grade 12s. “Our biggest player and important defender is Gryphon Vester, and steady tough guy Lucas Falconer will get lots of minutes, as will another newcomer Harry Li from China, who is an outstanding rebounder.
“This team is deeper than everyone thinks. Each player has something to bring to the table that is important. It’s just experience that lacks. Jakob Jungwirth is a sharp shooter who is steadily improving,” said Street.
“Guard Colton Derycke has vastly improved and gets better every time he gets on the floor. Finally, Grade 11s Jordan Balon and Isaac Ng play hard and are very intelligent. We are looking for a big improvement from them. By the end of the season we’ll have a very competitive 12-man roster where all members can put in quality minutes on defence and hopefully score a few buckets as well.
“Expect a fast breaking, pressure type of team, and other teams will certainly remember the night they played the Towhees,” the coach said.
– Vanier Towhees