Last year's dramatic championship victory isn't going to weigh the Terry Fox Ravens down in 2012-13.
The senior boys basketball team has had its ranks restocked, thanks to 11 veterans graduating following last March's heroic 75-74 triumph over Walnut Grove in the B.C. championship final.
Gone is 2012 MVP Ryan Sclater, as is last-second hero Jesse Crooks.
Underdogs then, they will kick off the new season in near-anonymity - not among those listed in the preseason coaches' poll.
And that's fine with co-coaches Steve Hanson and Brad Petersen.
The tandem, who are joined behind the bench by Andrew Ruditsch, accept that last year's Cinderella run may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
That Fox's previous provincial championship (in 1993-94) was part of a two-year-run, along with the steady stream of talent who will make up this year's roster, allows for more optimism.
"The goal for this season, as it is every year, is to go to the B.C.s," said Hanson. "That's usually not an easy task, but it's what you learn during that process that sets up your success down the road."
Twelve months ago, Fox rode a rollercoaster as they came out of the gate charging to quickly earn the No. 1 ranking in B.C. They lost it just as quickly and never recovered it until the year's final game.
"Last year we went to Oak Bay and just got hammered . we travelled to California and lost the first game then played quite
well," noted Hanson. "The road to the final had more than a few ups and downs, but I think what we learned was you want to be good when it's time to be good."
This season's roster doesn't have the veteran depth of a year ago - although it has some integral pieces who will be called to carry a load.
Six-foot-four forward Trevor Casey will continue playing a big-man role with the squad, while six-foot-two Cam Nicol will be asked to take the next step as a senior. Guard Damian Simon is a pure ball handler who knows how to play both ends of the court. Soccer players Adam Hoo and Bryce Rickaby bring athleticism to the mix.
The lineup is otherwise loaded with youth, said Petersen.
"We're going to be young, and we have four Grade 10s coming up," he noted. "We know we'll be young and inexperienced to start, but we will also be competitive - we'll have speed to burn."
With seven Gr. 11s providing the depth, a lot of the eyes will be on Gr. 10s Liam Hancock, Jomari Reyes, Andy Seo and Mike West. Skipping a junior season isn't for the faint of heart, and the Ravens coaches are adamant that players are here to play.
"There are always question marks with players that are brought up," noted Hanson. "With these four guys we're going to throw them into the fire and get them plenty of floor time."
Hancock, Reyes and Seo are all guards, while West, a junior football standout at six-feet-three, will be one of the taller players on a relatively small Fox roster.
"We see the potential that these young players have, and I think it will say a lot about our leadership in how they mature," added Petersen.
The Ravens officially launched the exhibition season on Tuesday when they visited the Vancouver College Fighting Irish. They followed that with a trip to White Rock to take on the Warriors.
Tonight (Friday) they visit Sardis.
On Saturday, they'll be the warm-up game of the Howard Tsumura Invitational in Langley, where Fox will face No. 6 seeded Sir Winston Churchill.
The squad will host a touring Australian team on Tuesday, before heading south to play two games in Washington State.
On Dec. 11, the Ravens will hold their official home opener against the St. Thomas More Knights.
Their first Fraser Valley North league game will be on Dec. 17 against Fraser Heights.