Huskies Grade 8 boys basketball riding strong start

Kevin Endozo of the Huskies dekes around a Holy Cross defender during an exhibition game on Feb. 1.

Kevin Endozo of the Huskies dekes around a Holy Cross defender during an exhibition game on Feb. 1.

For the first time this season, the Abbotsford Middle School Huskies suffered a defeat, but the setback hasn’t dampened the team’s promise.

The Huskies hosted the highly ranked Holy Cross Crusaders from Surrey in an exhibition game on Feb. 1, falling 58-45. It marks the end to an undefeated run that lasted over three months. The club rolled off 26 straight wins to start the season, including tournament victories in Kamloops, White Rock, Pitt Meadows and the Abbotsford PD city event.

Huskies head coach Shawn Mani said it’s been a great ride so far.

“Once in a while you get a special group of kids that just love the game and being in the gym and this is that team,” he said.

He pointed out that all 12 players on the Huskies roster played on the school’s title-winning football team in the fall.

“We’re building off the success of our football team,” he said. “We won the football championship on a Monday, and all these guys were here for basketball practice on a Tuesday it’s good to see.”

In addition to all the football players, Mani said several of his players play other sports.

“We have guys who also play lacrosse, hockey and even a nationally ranked baseball player,” he said. “Playing multiple sports gives them a competitive mentality, and they understand the importance of being a good teammate.”

He said his key players include: Kevin Endozo, Anish Dhaliwal, Karl von Eisendal, Karn Brar and Carlin Dick. The team plays mostly Fraser Valley and Surrey teams for the rest of the year before advancing to regionals and then possibly provincials.

“Our job is to develop these players and encourage them to continue playing basketball,” he said. “We want to see these players playing at the Snowball Classic and provincials for Abbotsford Senior. These kids are leaders on the court, and the classroom, and it’s nice to see us develop such good kids.”

Next up for the Huskies is the Walnut Grove tournament in Langley on Friday and Saturday. The league playoffs begin starting Feb. 10.