GW Graham Grizzly girls grow into provincial contenders

GW Graham's Grade 8 girls are competing in the Grade 8 basketball provincials this week, a first in school history.

Ken Heise has been around a long time and coached a lot of teams.

But this season might represent the most fun he’s ever had coaching basketball.

The former Sardis secondary school athletic director eased into retirement last summer. But he couldn’t stay away entirely, jumping over to G.W. Graham to run the Grade 8 girls hoops team.

“The girls were very green and fundamentally, I knew were in for a challenge,” Heise said of his initial impressions last fall. “Things were different every day, and as a coach, you don’t really have a lot of control over what happens on the court.”

The girls were scrambly and unprepared to make offensive and defensive adjustments. Many had never played the game before arriving at GWG.

“Things might look good in a timeout, but they get on the court and they run exactly where they’re not supposed to be,” Heise chuckled.

What the girls needed was playing time and encouragement.

“They finally got to the point where they could handle the pressure defenses without panicing,” Heise explained. “It was amazing to watch them grow. That’s the enjoyment I get working with the younger kids is you can really, really see the improvement.”

When his crew upset Brookswood 33-32 in the Fraser Valleys to get into provincials, their execution and the way they handled the pressure was absolutely amazing.

“At the beginning of the season, we wouldn’t even think of taking three point shots,” Heise said. “In that game, Katherine Holden hit three of them. There’s the physical skills like that, and their basketball IQ has improved greatly over the last three months.”

Heise’s chaotic crew finally arrived against Brookswood, and their smiles lit up the entire gymnasium.

Now they go to provincials, a first in the school’s short basketball history. Over the three day tournament that started today, GWG will face some top teams with girls who’ve been playing together for three years.

Heise has no doubt his team can give the big dogs some trouble, and he feels a top 10 finish is possible.

“The girls are very loose and excited and I really don’t think they have any expectations at all as far as placing,” Heise said. “They’re just overjoyed to have the opportunity to be the first team from GWG to play in that tournament.”

Follow online at

Just Posted

Well-known former B.C. radio personality and politician Barrie Clark dies

Clark remembered as a fair-minded ‘statesman,’ who always saw the big picture

WATCH: Giant Flowers artwork going up at Evans roundabout in Chilliwack

The artwork installation Tuesday was causing very little traffic disruption for Chilliwack drivers

Nature festival, musical science and more for spring break fun

Chilliwack’s libraries, ice rinks and favourite family spots offer up plenty to do

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

UFV health fair focuses on taking back health

Health sciences program invites Dr. Cathy van Ingen to speak

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Police officers injured in Trans Mountain pipeline arrests: RCMP

One suffered a head injury after being kicked, another hurt a knee, and a third hurt a hand

Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Premier addresses B.C. Teachers Federation AGM ahead of contract negotiations starting next year

Reader Photos: First day of spring around British Columbia

Our loyal viewers sent us some of their favourite Spring photos from all corners of the province

Five Canadian kids charged with making school threats

Police say online threats are on the rise

Not even Ellen DeGeneres can get Virtue, Moir to say they’re more than friends

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday

RCMP warn public to stop pouring gas on fires after three incidents

Police responded to three recent incidents that sent seven people to hospital

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles in the driver’s seat and Ethan Martini takes a seat

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

New Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms in Canada

Measures are intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes

Most Read