Welcome to the Jungle: Abbotsford Senior ready to make noise this season
One of the most consistent basketball programs in BC high school sports is located out in the Fraser Valley. Abbotsford Senior, home of the Panthers, have been a mainstay at Provincials pretty much every year since 2014.
And that's not just at the Senior Boys level that most casual observers focus on. Both Junior programs have been excellent over that time frame, and the Senior Girls are fresh off a third place finish at the 2018 Provincial Championship.
“It’s quite a heritage of success at Abbotsford Secondary” said Greg DeVries, head coach of both the junior and senior basketball teams. “We try to continue that success, but it takes a lot of work.”
“Everyone practices a lot and puts a lot of time and effort into it” said Reegan Ashton, a point guard on the junior girls team, when asked what sustains the Abbotsford Panthers year after year. “I think that’s a big reason, and we also have good coaches.”
With a long history of success come high expectations, and that is not lost on anyone involved with the program. Each team has lofty goals that they hope to achieve in the immediate future.
“We haven’t been to the Senior Quad A final since it expanded to that level” explained DeVries. “We’ve been to the Triple A final a few times but never to the Quad A final. So that’s our team’s goal is to be the first one to get there and continue on that heritage.”
“I think we have a really good shot” said senior guard Jalen Edwards on what his expectations are for his senior season. “I’m going to be really disappointed if we don’t make it to the LEC in March. We’ve got a lot of athleticism, a lot of talent, and great work ethic.”
Edwards is perhaps the perfect example of what an Abbotsford Senior basketball player strives to be. Not only is he an excellent player on the court, but off it he is a great example to his fellow teammates and students.
“Off the court he is the jack of all trades” said his head coach DeVries beaming. “You can see him hanging with our junior boys and the grade elevens and twelves. He’s a good giver to the community. He works with his local youth group, he went overseas last summer to help children in El Salvador. He’s just a great kid and I love being around them.”
One other thing that all four teams share is they can’t wait to start the season and play. Their first test will be at The Big Ticket tournament starting next Monday.
“It’s a great opportunity to measure yourself against other powers of the province” said DeVries on the opening tournament of their season. “It’s really exciting to be a part of the tournament.”
“That’s what we are working towards” explained Sahil Sidhu, a guard on the junior boys team. “All the work we’ve been putting in all summer, all the stuff we’re doing right now, it’s all for The Big Ticket. It’s our main goal and focus.”
You can catch all the Abbotsford Senior Panthers teams at The Big Ticket starting November 26th. BC Sports Hub will have exclusive coverage of the entire tournament.
Written by: Nick Bondi