Similkameen's Corbin Marsden, a rising senior for the Sparks, is expected to help the Keremeos squad compete for a B.C. 1A title next season. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

03.16.18: Sparks to burn bright in 2018-19, Similkameen tops B.C. senior boys Single-A preseason hoops rankings

LANGLEY — If the coming together of all four of B.C.’s senior boys varsity basketball tiers for one weekend of championship play at the Langley Events Centre has shown us anything, it’s the breadth of talent that exists across our entire province.

Without question, B.C.’s smallest schools, those belonging to the 1A tier, have found a place in the hearts of basketball fans here at the LEC, especially on championship Saturday when it kicks off the day’s four straight B.C. finals.

Here’s our pre-preseason look at the B.C. Single A tier, with rankings, as always, provided by Sean Juteau. 


Scoring machine Sasha Zebroff graduates, but an incredible core of prodigious talent returns for head coach Yuri Zebroff.

Included in the bounty are rising seniors Corbin Marsden, a forward, guard Jughraj Bopari, and 6-foot-6 centre Aidan Nelson, as well as rising Grade 11 Tyson Douangpanya and rising Grade 10 Armaan Dhaliwal.


Anthony Vanderstoep of Credo Christian is back to help lead the Fraser Valley powers. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of Varsity Letters)

They lose a lot of their scoring punch through the graduation of a number of key seniors, yet the Fraser Valley champions have made a habit of quickly climbing back to full speed with a true program that hasn’t struggled to replenish itself. This past season’s edition featured five Grade 11s and two Grade 10s.


They didn’t make the provincial field out of an ultra-competitive Okanagan zone, but they showed their stuff by building a lead against eventual B.C. champion Heritage Christian in the zone semifinals. One starter and two other main rotation players graduate but there is a ton of quality returning, led by point guard Cameron Kerslake, shooting guard Tyson Schilling and power forward Aaron Van Sickle.


Kelowna Christian’s Colin Christophe (centre) is book-ended on defence by Salmon Loki (left) and Noah Delege of the Bulkley Valley Christian Royals. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

One of the province’s most traditional 1A powers, they ran into Saymon Loki and the Bulkley Valley Christian Royals in the semifinals, but a quality program will deliver another deep roster next season for head coach Dan Benson, one that will likely be led by rising seniors Colin Christophe, Connor Haasdyk and post Parker Kent.


Thomas Healey, a 6-foot-5 forward, is one of a number of rising seniors set to energize the Victoria-based roster of the Glenlyon Norfolk Griffins for head coach Harvey Thorau next season. ( (Photo by Wilson Wong, property of UBC athletics)

Head coach Harvey Thorau’s Victoria-based Gryphons are loaded with talent, led by rising senior guard/forward Chris Graham, who might be the tier’s most dynamic scorer.

Graham, who averaged a hair under 30 ppg this past season, will be joined by fellow Class of 2019ers Ethan Stanger and rebounding beast Noah Feteke.

6 KING DAVID LIONS (Vancouver)

King David’s Roy Jankelowitz, a rising senior, is part of a huge returning class for Vancouver’s King David Lions next season. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)

Asher Freedman will be lost to graduation but the roster is hardly bare for the Lions, who are in the midst of one of the most solid runs in program history. Rising Grade 10 centre Oliver Munt, as well as the rising senior back court of Solly Khalifa and Yurval Jacob give King David great hope for another deep March run at the LEC.


Isaiah Akurienne returns to help Kelowna’s Heritage Christian Saints in their bid to repeat as B.C. 1A champions in 2018-19. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)

What a run head coach Colton Tripke and Co. had, all the way to the first B.C. title in school history as they found a way to top Saymon Loki and Smither’s Bulkley Valley Christian Royals in the championship final.

That said, there are heavy grad totals here with names like Nenasheff, Weekes, Robideau and Bell all departing. However Ryamond Barrett is the kind of player an entire program can be built around and the rising senior will be joined by fellow Class of ’19 standout Isaiah Akurienne.


Navraj Brar of the Osoyoos Rattlers, pictured in action at the St. John’s Classic this past season in Vancouver, returns for his senior season. Isaiah (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)

The team the town saved is back and better than ever next season. After falling just shy in the tough Okanagan wars, the Osoyoos Rattlers bring back a ton of talent, led by small forward Kolby Wikene and guard Navraj Brar, a pair of rising seniors, and rising Grade 11 southpaw power forward Jasmanpreet Sekhon. Osoyoos Secondary was closed a few seasons back due to budget cuts, but a town rally re-opened its doors and gave one of the province’s most uniquely-identifiable programs a new lease on life.


Elijah Grimard is an emerging talent as a rising Grade 11 with Chilliwack’s Highroad Knights. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)

A run of poor shooting late in the season kept Chilliwack’s Knights out of the Big Dance, yet head coach Steve Basaraba has a young group with provincial tournament staying power that would look to extend beyond March of 2019.

Point guard Easton Abel and combo guard Aidan Morris are a pair of rising Grade 11s who have the backcourt chores locked up for the next two season and you can say ‘ditto-plus’ on the wing where rising Grade 10 Elijah Grimard holds terrific promise.


Bryden Alexander, a 6-foot-2 rising senior, has the Ft. St. James Falcons perched in the pre-preaseaosn B.C. 1A basketball rankings. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics)

Coach Andrew Mulroy’s team made its first Big Dance appearance since 2010 this past week at the LEC. With a team that this past season was made up entirely of Grades 9-11 players, you can expect a lot more in the coming years. Rising seniors Ezra Croucher and Donovan Gregg, as well as rising Grade 11 Riley McVey are among the leaders who got valuable experience this season and will be looking for a lot more in 2018-19.

Honourable mention —  Northside Christian Northstars (Vanderhoof), St. John’s Eagles (Vancouver), Deer Lake Falcons (Burnaby), Unity Christian Flames (Chilliwack)

(Sean Juteau, GVISAA)

(Editor’s note — Thanks go out to GVISSA’s Sean Juteau, to Dan Kinvig of the Fraser Valley Cascades and especially to Wilson Wong of UBC athletics. All three champion the recognition of small-school basketball in the province of British Columbia.)

SATURDAY  — B.C. senior boys Double A preseason rankings.

If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any other website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *