Sabres starting something special

There's a thriving culture of basketball taking root at Abbotsford Traditional.

Abby Traditional point guard Jamie Jagpal brings the ball up the floor against pressure during the Sabres’ first annual Grade 8 basketball tournament.

Abby Traditional point guard Jamie Jagpal brings the ball up the floor against pressure during the Sabres’ first annual Grade 8 basketball tournament.

There’s a thriving culture of basketball taking root at Abbotsford Traditional.

Case in point is the West Abbotsford school’s first annual Grade 8 basketball tournament, which is bringing together 48 teams from across B.C. – 24 girls squads and 24 boys – over the course of two weekends.

“This isn’t really being done anywhere else in B.C.,” noted Jasvir Gill, the athletic director at Abby Traditional Middle, speaking of the huge scope of the event. “That’s what attracted a lot of the coaches.

“Traditionally, we’ve been known for our values and academics. It’s our goal to also build a community of sports, and that’s what this tournament is about.”

The girls’ side of the tourney was played last weekend, with the St. Thomas More Knights winning gold. The Burnaby squad dominated throughout, and capped the event with a 48-26 blowout win over St. Thomas Aquinas of North Vancouver in the final.

The host Sabres took fourth place, after suffering a four-point loss to Vernon in the bronze medal game. Abby Traditional’s Tarndeep Chattu was named a tournament all-star.

The boys side of the tourney runs this Friday and Saturday, culminating in the medal games at 5 p.m. Saturday. The gold medal game tips off in the secondary gym, while the bronze game runs simultaneously at the middle school.

Gill believes the culture of sport is already blossoming at Abby Traditional – last season, the Grade 8 girls hoops team won the Fraser Valley title, the first such triumph for the school.

“We wanted to build upon that,” Gill said.