The Unity Christian senior boys basketball team is coming off back-to-back impressive seasons, making it to single-A provincials two years running.
But they’ve done so both times without winning their own league.
Unity Christian has fallen slightly short as compared to arch-rival Langley Christian, but UC vice principal Mike Campbell believes that’s due to change.
“We are heavily favoured to win the Fraser Valleys, in large part because we have three returning starters and have added five grade 10s who played in the East Fraser Valley final last year,” he said.
UC typically puts a tall team on the floor, one that excels around the basket.
The drawback is that a tall roster is often a slower roster. An infusion of Grade 10 talent at the guard position has Campbell believing the team will be both big and fast.
“We will continue to run an offense where all the players play interchangeable positions, the guards can post up and the posts can shoot,” he said. “However, this year we are much deeper and we hope to add more of an up-tempo run-and-gun style to our offense.”
Grade 12 guard Nathan Vugteveen stands six-foot-five and is arguably one of the top three players at the 1A level in the province.
He is complimented by the Grade 11 post player Ryan Billsten.
At six-foot-six, Billsten is a load for any defender near the hoop, but he also possesses a soft shooting touch.
Billsten hit 14 three point shots at the provincial championships last year.
UC also returns third-year starting point guard, Jason VanWyk, with his two brothers also on the team.
The tiny school starts the season ranked sixth provincially.
Because they are hosting this year’s single-A provincials, they are guaranteed a spot in the year-end tournament. And so, UC has made it their goal to get that elusive Fraser Valley title.
“Knowing we are already in this year as the hosts allows us to focus on adding two banners to our gym wall at the end of the year,” Campbell noted. “Barring any injuries, this could be the strongest team that this school has fielded.”