Updated: Feb 4, 2020
This marks Part 3 of our Series: Connections and Chemistry where we explore connections and chemistry that make teams work.
Surprise Munie. If you follow Girls Basketball in BC, you probably know the name already. Actually, if you follow basketball at all you should know her name.
Surprise Munie is a grade 12 basketball stud that plays for the #2 AA Ranked Britannia Bruins in Vancouver and is heading off to Simon Fraser University next year. She has all the skills you want from an athlete on your team: 3 point shot? Check. Euro steps through the lane? Check. Ability to find open teammates while fighting off double and triple teams? Check. Able to defend? Check. Silky smooth jumper that is probably the best in the country? Check.
This past weekend she helped lead her Bruins to their 4th straight Tournament victory at the 2020 VGBA Langara Challenge. She picked up Tournament MVP for the second year in a row and has been an all-star at this tournament every year since 2017. Not only have the Bruins won the VGBA four years in a row, they have won four tournaments in a row: the Burnaby Central-Burnaby North Wildcats-Vikings Invitational, the Notre Dame Jugglers Classic, the Bruins Invitational, and the VGBA Langara Challenge. On top of the athletic accolades, Surprise picked up a Vancouver Police Department Major Scholarship at the VGBA Langara Challenge.
Connection: Feeling of Community
Hearing all about her accomplishments, you know that Surprise spends a lot of time in the gym. The thing is, she spends even more time than you think she does.
Little known fact: Surprise is a stellar scorekeeper. She could probably run a score table all by herself and that is exactly why she is the President of the Britannia Timers and Scorers Club. Surprise shows that her leadership skills go beyond the basketball court.
When most people are done practicing, they head home to relax; Surprise is usually off to another gymnasium to help keep score, mentor other girls, or volunteer her time.
Why? Because she believes in giving back and building connections in her community. She is a leader in her community. She has grown up in the Strathcona Community and if you ask anyone, they cannot say enough great things about her.
Talking with Ron Suzuki, Retired Community Recreation Supervisor of Strathcona Community Centre, this past weekend he was beaming with pride when recalling Surprise joining Strathcona Basketball in Grade 6. He could not get out enough praise for her.
Mitra Tshan says "she has proven to be invaluable for numerous community project and various school events that serve the families and children in the neighbourhood. Surprise is committed to giving back to the community that has supported her."
Mentor. Volunteer. Leader. Grit. These are only a few of the words used to describe Surprise.
This past weekend Surprise was not only in the gym to play in her games, but was behind the scorer’s table for many others. Her team was not scheduled to play until 4:00pm on Friday, but Friday morning there was Surprise score keeping the 9:30am game. Then she did the 11:15am game, the 1:00pm game, and the 2:30pm game, before scoring 34 points in the Bruin’s semi-final victory. There are not many players that can pull that off. There are not many players that would even consider doing that. But for Surprise, this is just another day of balancing her academics, athletics and service in the community.
On top of all her athletics and volunteering, Surprise has been on the Honour Roll every term for the past five years.
You know she is destined to do great things.
Chemisty: Dynamic Duo
If you have seen the Britannia Bruins play, right away you will see the chemistry that Surprise has with her teammates. One teammate sticks out in particular and the chemistry she has with Surprise: Shemaiah Abatayo. They are best friends on and off the court and you can see how well they know each other. They execute transition with ease and their passes to each other are always right on the money. If one of them is open, the other one will find them. They are fun to watch. If you have not seen them play yet, make sure you do not miss them before the season is over.
Not only do they play high school basketball, but they have played club basketball together as well. They both played basketball at the Strathcona Community Centre. They both played for VK Basketball this past summer, capturing the U17 Elite BBALL Nationals championship. The saddest part is that this dynamic duo is playing their last bit of basketball together: Next year they will be off to separate universities to continue playing post-secondary basketball (Shemaiah is off to Trinity Western University).
You know that the Britannia Bruins and Strathcona Community are going to miss these two next year, but you know that they are also so incredibly proud of what these two have accomplished (both on and off the court).
Good luck to the Britannia Bruins during the home stretch of the season and if you have not seen them play yet, make sure you catch them in action before it is too late!
You will not regret it.
Written by: Katie Miyazaki