Josh Hiraoka goes up to block a shot during a game against South Okanagan.

Eagles off to flying start, finish 4-0 at season-opening tourney

Golden Secondary's senior boys' basketball team is off to a fantastic start after a 4-0 weekend in Oliver.

The start of the season was delayed a week because of highway closures, but for the Golden Secondary School senior boys’ basketball team, it was worth the wait.

The Eagles managed to squeeze into the field at a tournament in Oliver over the weekend after another squad dropped out.

Some of the competition might be wishing they hadn’t shown up, as the Eagles rolled to a sparkling 4-0 record to tie for the top spot in the tourney against stiff competition that included several provincially ranked opponents.

Playing their first game of the season, there appeared to little rust to shake off, as the Eagles rolled to an 80-56 win in their first matchup of the weekend. Their next matchup provided Golden with their toughest challenge of the tournament, against the host South Okanagan squad.

“They had the crowd at their back and they had huge momentum swings,” explained Grade 11 Meva Dhami. “I think we just did a great job as a team by keeping it all together…I think we took over against them in the 4th quarter.”

Their third game against Princess Margaret stayed close for a while, with little to separate the two teams after three quarters of play, but the Eagles turned it on late with a series of three pointers and they managed to prevail 68-52.

“That was a big 4th quarter,” said Grade 12 Josh Hiraoka of the final period, which featured several three pointers and a tremendous overall team effort.

The Eagles capped off a perfect weekend with a 91-69 win to finish with a 4-0 record.

As usual, Saje Gosal and Neal Randhawa helped lead the way – with Saje earning a place on the tournament’s all-star team – but it was an encouraging effort from the rest of the group that was particularly exciting for the team’s prospects this year.

“Everybody contributed,” said head coach Kindy Gosal. “There were sequences where it looked like (Hiraoka and Dhami) were above the rim…those kinds of plays, they change the momentum of the game.”

Hiraoka and Dhami made some key rebounds and pitched in offensively, while Saje’s younger brother (and Kindy’s son) Kiran performed well while taking on a bigger role in his Grade 11 season, draining six three pointers against South Okanagan.

“He took command…he was balling out against some great point guards…he didn’t back off at all,” Dhami said.

Vikram Sidhu and Gage Chernoff pitched in off the bench, while Grade 9 John Oszust impressed in his first action with the senior club.

“Opponents kept passing the ball away from (Sidhu) because they didn’t want to be guarded by him because he was so tenacious,” Hiraoka said.

“I was impressed with John. When I was in Grade 10 last year I was pretty nervous but John was so calm,” Dhami said.

It would be hard to nit-pick too much after a perfect weekend, but Kindy stressed that the club still has a ways to go in order to achieve its goals for the season.

“We have to keep this in perspective. This is the beginning of the season and it’s one tournament…I’m happy but I don’t want the team and myself to get at all complacent,” Kindy said.

The Eagles will be back on the hardwood this weekend in Canmore before rounding out their pre-holiday schedule in Airdrie from Dec. 18-20.

 

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