Sardis Falcons start march to provincials

Does the Sardis senior boys basketball team have what it takes to be BC's best. They think so.

There is a different vibe around the Sardis Falcons as the 2013-14 senior boys basketball season gets set to start. Words like provincials and contenders are dropped into any conversation with coach Kyle Graves.

His players say the same things, and when you look them in the eye, you can see that they really believe.

They think their team is destined for greatness.

When the season is done, it will be them sitting atop the heap as BC provincial champions. Never has a Falcons team set out with such lofty expectations.

“Four out of the top 15 teams are in our league, so we’ll know where we’re at by the end of January,” Graves said. “I think talent wise we’re right there as one of the top two or three teams in the province. It’s just going to be confidence and mental toughness that separates the teams.”

After an eighth place finish at last spring’s provincial tournament, Sardis enters this year ranked No. 5.

The only teams ahead of them are the Tamanawis Wildcats (Surrey), W.J.Mouat Hawks (Abbotsford, Yale Lions (Abbotsford)and Walnut Grove Gators (Langley).

Graves returns his Big 3 of Hayden Lejeune, Eric Rogers and Cam Servatius — plus an impressive collection of depth.

Servatius came into last year as an unheralded player with big potential.

His development turned the Falcons from a good team into a great one.

“It was a learning experience, an adjustment coming  up to the senior level,” Graves said. “It took a while, but when Cam found his groove he started to knock down some big threes for us.”

Servatius eventually morphed into a two-way force, to the point where Graves referred to him as one of the top-10 defensive players in the province.

His development opened up the playbook for Graves, knowing opposing coaches couldn’t just key on Lejeune and Rogers. They can collapse to the basket and limit the damage done by the Sardis big men, but that strategy leaves Servatius, and now Northey, wide open to rain down the three balls.

He’ll be happy having star-level Servatius in the lineup from start to finish.

“It makes things a lot easier knowing teams can’t double or triple team,” Graves said. “Overall, we’re more a balanced this year for scoring.”

Guard Grayden Northey isn’t a household name… yet.

But the senior may be by season’s end. The sharp shooter will line up at guard, and believes he can do serious damage to opponents who don’t view him as a threat.

Graves refers to him as his three-point specialist.

“It’s fun playing with the other guys because I don’t get much attention at all,” Northey said. “If they leave me to double inside, I stay on the wing and hit open shots. I’m flying under the radar.”

The individual talent in the Sardis starting five is impressive. But all of the top ranked teams have star power, and it’s the depth that will make the difference.

If Graves gets quality minutes from his bench, his starters should have fresh legs in late-game situations.

“We’re always sucking wind, but our depth and conditioning helps us work our way through it, even when we’re tired,” Northey said. “When we line up across from a guy who’s not playing good D because he’s tired, we just attack.”

Experience should give the Falcons another edge.

By birth certificates alone, they’re still a young team. But with one provincial run under their belts, they have a veteran feel to them.

“All of the big moments where we had to win just to get to provincials, then playing in the big stadium (Langley Events Centre), we learned a lot about what it takes,” Northey said.

And where the Falcons might have been just happy to be there in 2013 (though they’d never say it), there’s a sense this season that an invite to the dance won’t be enough.

“I know for myself, this is probably the last time I’ll be able to play competitive basketball,” Northey said. “So I’m dreaming big and working hard.”

Graves’ biggest challenge this year will be managing expectations — keeping his team focused on the ultimate prize while also keeping the game fun.

“It’ll be on me to make sure it’s not about winning every game so much as learning from every game,” he said. “The boys have to enjoy this experience. Even though it’s a four month season, it’ll go by really quick.”


l The Falcons opened their season Tuesday night, with an 83-55 dismantling of the Robert Bateman Timberwolves at the Sardis gym.

Two hundred and fifty fans watched Rogers drain 30 points. Lejeune had 21 and Servatius had nine.

Sardis plays in Yale’s tourney next week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
Harrison woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

A nurse prepares to vaccinate healthcare workers at a COVID-19 drive-thru immunization site in Coquitlam in this image supplied to the media by Fraser Health on March 8, 2021. (Fraser Health)
OPINION: 97-year-old Chilliwack man gets his COVID vaccination appointment

Call centre inundated with 1.7 million calls while there are just 50,000 folks over 90 in B.C.

Once again Fraser East is among the health service delivery areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the province. (Datawrapper)
Fraser East sees third highest rate of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The region is seeing a sustained increase in new COVID-19 cases

Once a star player with the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, Kayli Sartori is moving into a new role coaching the next generation of Cascades. (UFV photo)
Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori goes from court to coach with UFV basketball Cascades

Sartori is taking a new path as part of the U-Sports female basketball apprentice coaching program

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

Most Read