Spring break may have begun for the Catholic school, but the St. Thomas More Knights senior boys team are still in the classroom -- metaphorically speaking.
The No. 2 Lower Mainland team enters this week’s 3A provincial championships in Langley with a number of lessons to apply, and targets to reach.
It all begins today (Wednesday), 5:15 p.m. as the Knights tip-off against No. 12-seeded Nanaimo District Islanders at the Langley Events Centre.
Ranked fifth overall entering the 16-team tourney, STM coach Aaron Mitchell admits that on the surface the two teams don’t match-up well.
“We have some info and know that they’re big and like to pound the ball inside,” said Mitchell. “(Nanaimo) is well-coached... He’ll have them prepared and they’ll probably want to slow the game down.”
The No. 2 team from Vancouver Island, Nanaimo can brag four forwards 6-foot-5 or taller, plus 6-foot-4 guard Max Reed.
Those factors will present a test for STM, who were handcuffed by a similar height-blessed Steveston-London lineup in the Lower Mainland final.
“We’ve had a hard time since the Lower Mainland game, and we look at it as growing opportunity,” said Mitchell, who has helmed the squad for the past 10 years. “Since then we’ve had the guys set goals everyday in practice, work towards achieving some basic things... We haven’t even talked about Nanaimo until (Tuesday).”
STM’s youthful roster, boasting just two Grade 12s, makes up for its lack of serious height with aggressive speed. It’s one aspect, when used skilfully, that can trip up size.
“I think for them to get into (Langley) and play, they’re just excited,” Mitchell added.” The guys really just want to get on the court and show what they’ve learned.”
A win Wednesday would catapult the Knights into the quarterfinal, 5:15 p.m. on Thursday. All games are at the Langley Events Centre.