PORT COQUITLAM — It will likely be a virtual Port Coquitlam all-star team at tonight’s home opener for the 2012-13 Terry Fox Ravens senior boys basketball team — with most of those all-stars in the crowd.
A packed house is anticipated, including numerous members of the Ravens alumni, to celebrate and raise the provincial AAA banner prior to the tip-off between Fox and the St. Thomas More Knights.
It’s the kind of event that will be emotional and an eye-opener for this year’s newcomers, Fox co-coach Steve Hanson said.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to do more of, to connect with the Fox alumni from over the years — including my years (1991-93),” remarked Hanson. “The new players will see what it’s all about, we’ve got the graduating players coming in to enjoy the moment … It should be pretty impressive.”
Impressive is how the Ravens played over a two-game tour in Washington State last week, where they met the Washougal Panthers and the R.A. Long Lumberjacks.
Against the Panthers, the visitors struggled through foul trouble but had their moments before falling 74-53.
A day later, they renewed a near-yearly rivalry with the Lumberjacks and handed the home team a 75-74 double-overtime loss. Andy Seo’s second free throw shot, with a handful of seconds on the clock, proved to be the difference in a highly charged, entertaining contest.
“In six of the last eight years we’ve made a habit of playing [Long] and never beaten them. Their coach said that this was the best Fox team he’s seen … although we didn’t play them last year.”
Without the services of seniors Trevor Casey and Damian Simon, the PoCo crew leaned heavily on its Grade 10 depth and saw some impressive contributions.
“Liam Hancock and Andy Seo played extremely well and Jomari Reyes was our top scorer with 25 points against Washougal… Mike West has only been with us since the junior football season finished two weeks ago, but he just dominated on the boards.”
Senior Cam Nicol also stepped up and carried much of the leadership mantle, while delivering a sniper’s touch from the foul line.
While earning a split was the icing, the main reason behind the annual early trip is to spark the growth of team chemistry — a goal that was accomplished, said Hanson.
“That was our No. 1 goal going down there,” he said. “We’ve got four Gr. 10s, seven Gr. 11s and so what we want is them to see each other as a team, and that’s coming.
“It’s a work in progress, but you can see they are working very hard.”
After tonight’s tilt with St. Thomas More, the Ravens will host Fraser Valley AAA rival W.J. Mouat on Wednesday (8 p.m.). On Friday, they head to Burnaby South before returning Monday to play host to the Fraser Heights Firehawks in the first game of league action.