There’s something so unique about this high school basketball season. Rather than one team stepping into the spotlight and destroying all those who try to test them, we’ve got an almost “Any Given Sunday” scenario before our eyes. Any given day of the week, actually.
Why? Well, take a look at the Top 10 boy’s teams in the province at the moment.
Truly, on a good day, each team has a chance of defeating the other—regardless of current or previous ranking. It takes one player to hit every three. Or another to smack down every layup.
And for the Holy Cross Crusaders, the stars seemed to align just right as they took down the high-flying, (previously) # 1 ranked Terry Fox Ravens to claim the Fraser Valley Championships on Sunday, February 24th at the Langley Events Centre.
The Ravens (I’m sure) did not take their competition lightly, so there’s no reason for fans to believe that they had this one on lock. Because really, no game is ever a set-in-stone win. Holy Cross proved that their prior # 5 spot in the rankings is not a reflection of who they are as a team when it comes to the big games.
“It was nice for us considering that [Fox] beat us twice already this season by 30 plus. We are never really concerned about rankings and who is ranked where and what,” said Coach Anthony Pezzente on Holy Cross claiming the 2019 Fraser Valley championship. “For us, we really just focus on the next opponent—whether they are top ranked or not ranked at all.”
That mentality translated well for the Crusaders this past weekend as they won by a monstrous 21 points: the final score being 83-62 over the Ravens.
Uyi Ologhola—Cross’ star Grade 11—played with incredible skill throughout the duration of the tournament (with a beautiful block that had fans falling out of their seats during their semi final match-up against Lord Tweedsmuir and a game-high 32 points against Terry Fox) and was named MVP, fittingly.
“The title means a lot since I’ve been able to compete at the senior level for 3 years now,” Ologhola said of the honour. “Although what I’m really focused on now is winning provincials.”
That determination and focus has Ologhola constantly reaching for more. And his style of play not only reflects his competitive nature, but also showcases a whole lot of heart and soul, too. It’s clear that the Crusader boys mean the world to # 10.
“We’ve celebrated each other’s success and stuck together through the ups and downs throughout the year…this win is great for us, especially because we’ve lost to Fox two times already. We now know that we can beat any team in the province—we just have to go out and do it.”
While the huge win over the weekend is something that team will remember forever, the Crusaders—of course—have their sights on that shiny provincial banner.
“I think it’s given us a huge boost of confidence [heading into provincials]. The guys know that we can play and beat any team in the Province on any given night,” said Coach Pezzente.
“That being said, while it’s a great win, it’s still just another step in our journey.”
And if that doesn’t get you hype for the BC Provincials (starting next week, YAS!), y’all need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Stay tuned for the provincial Quad A draw droppin’ this Sunday!
Written by: Crystal Scuor
Photos by: Nick Bondi