Basketball preview: Storm warning as Chilliwack hits the court

Both Storm teams have athletic and versatile rosters and feel optimistic about the 2017-18 season.

High school basketball season has started and will get rolling at full speed early in the new year.

Today’s preview looks at the boys’ and girls’ senior teams at Chilliwack secondary school.\

SENIOR GIRLS

The 2017-18 Chilliwack secondary school senior girls’ basketball team is young, with just five seniors in the mix, but the talent is there for the Storm to upset some of the Fraser Valley’s top squads.

Exchange student Anna Bonutto hails from Italy. She is a quick play-making guard with a non-stop motor and the ability to finish scoring plays with both hands. She pairs nicely with Jadyn Weiss, another hustling guard who is a great ball handler and has an eye for finding open teammates.

Keanna Gaines, Julia Bartel and Megan Hoogeveen are the seniors up front, and they are a handful for any opponent.

Hoogeveen is a strong defender with a knack for blocking shots. Gaines and Bartel rely more on quickness. Gaines has a great vertical jump that makes her a fierce rebounder while Bartel uses top-notch agility to block passes and shots.

The Grade 12’s are joined by 10 Grade 11 players.

Vanessa Tuytel is a developing power forward with strong defence and great offensive moves around the basket. Jessaih Gorcak and Dami Elufsian fit the same profile. They are strong presences in the paint and both have a talent for pulling down rebounds. Katrina Brown has strength combined with an excellent feel for the game, and she is the prototypical team player.

Alexus Brown is a hybrid guard/forward who doesn’t hesitate to drive to the basket and finishes with authority.

In the back-court, Lisa Kostering stands out as a sharp-shooting guard with patience. Her three point shooting can make the difference in a close game. Janika Kroeze combines solid shooting with the ability to slash to the basket, making her hard to defend one-on-one.

Christina Nguyen shoots well and is a solid defender and Bella Melnuk combines aggressive D with passionate play as a solid contributor off the bench.

SENIOR BOYS

A young and versatile team with loads of potential, Chilliwack secondary school’s 2017-18 senior boys’ basketball team feels they can beat anyone on any given night.

The Storm are capable of playing any style a foe wants to try.

The trick will be finding consistency with a young roster that will go through its share of ups and downs, as Chilliwack rolls into the season with just four Grade 12 players.

Josh Mercado is a difference maker at guard. The senior seems able to slash to the rim at will, and when opponents close down the driving lanes he can pull up and hit shots from the outside. Jayden Forence is a shooting guard who brings incredible floor presence and intensity, while Mattias Jimmie fills the role of a power forward who can post up or hit mid-range jumpers.

Tyler Hill’s love of the game shines through every time he plays and the hard working senior can burn opponents with outside shooting.

It has been said that as Matt Cedilla goes, so go the Storm. The Grade 11 student is Chilliwack’s big man in the middle. His soft hands, incredible poise and footwork make him a dangerous offensive, defensive, and rebounding threat.

Jake Nord-Leth is only in Grade 11 but already he is the Storm’s undisputed floor general, a player who controls the flow of the game and can score from anywhere on the court.

Levi Bell is Chilliwack’s first man off the bench. Bell is the team’s hardest worker, which makes it no surprise that he is also the team’s most improved player from last year. The CSS coaches feel he will be a star next season.

Brandt Davies is a stretch forward who serves as Chilliwack’s utility man, and he is one of the reasons the Storm feel they can play any style. Davies can bring the ball up the court, post up in the paint, rebound like a demon and hit shots from three point land.

Parker Zacharias is the team’s long-range specialist. If the game is on the line and the Storm need someone to bomb away from three point land, he’s the guy they turn to. Blaise Melnuk is another player who can get into a zone with the three balls, and he is also good at getting the ball up the floor.

Kael Wilson is making the transition from guard to forward and adapting quickly, impressing with a soft shooting touch from the outside.

When Chilliwack needs defence off the bench, the coaches turn to Kieran McRae and Michael Nahanee. Nahanee has speed to burn, which makes him a threat for a steal and an easy layup whenever he’s on the court. McRae defends with incredible intensity and is quickly becoming the Storm’s backup ball handler.

“We expect this year’s team to be competitive in most games and surprise a few teams,” said coach Chris Reilly. “We should get stronger and stronger as the season goes on and we expect to be challenging for a playoff spot.”

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