Terry Fox power forward Sukhraj Garcha finds himself closely guarded by the Heritage Woods' duo of Carter McCauley (left) and Kai Rawnsley during Fraser North Quad-A senior boys basketball championship game played Sunday at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

On the marvels of the 1-3-1 trapping zone: A late defensive shift sparks Terry Fox senior Sukhraj Garcha to next-level play and gives Ravens the Fraser North Quad-A title!

LANGLEY — Utter the numbers ‘1-3-1’ to the Terry Fox Ravens’  bearded, crash-and-bang senior power forward Sukhraj Garcha, along with the simple word ‘trap’ and the result seems to not only include an induced, trance-like state but also an energy burst that is easily greater than a swig of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

On Sunday night, with 4:21 remaining in the Fraser Valley North Quad-A senior boys championship final at the Langley Events Centre, the Ravens were a basketball team hemorraging points and slipping fast against its crosstown rival, Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks.

In the seeming blink of an eye, the surging Kodiaks had peeled off a 13-0 run to turn a 50-45 deficit into a 58-50 lead.

Veteran Terry Fox head coach Rich Chambers called a time-out, instructed his team to play its 1-3-1 zone defence aggressively, looking to trap out of its formations to force the turnovers he knew his team needed to generate quick buckets against the talented, no-quit Kodiaks who as of late have been playing as well as any team in B.C.

Terry Fox Ravens’ senior forward Sukhraj Garcha fights to get past Heritage Woods’ Carter McCauley during Sunday’s Fraser Valley Quad-A title game at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)

Those words, it turns out, were like catnip to Garcha, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound bruiser, because he went back out on the floor, and at one point had scored nine straight points of what was to be a 14-0 game-changing Fox run, all a part of its eventual 65-62 victory.

“Basically in practice, whenever we go to that zone, we trap everything and that energy we played with tonight, it just came from practice,” Garcha said. “To me, it is just having that mentality of ‘Stop the ball, stop the ball, stop the ball.’ Everything is intensity. We go crazy. And it just carried over. It was the same energy from practice that just carried on here, and we finished the game with that same momentum.”

Garcha’s revelatory play — including those nine consecutive points over a span of just 2:24 late in the fourth — earned him Fraser North Quad-A MVP honours, something that Ravens’ coach Chambers was happy to acknowledge as both Terry Fox and Heritage Woods advance to next week’s Big Dance filled with the requisite fight and fervour.

“That is what he does every night… he is an MVP,” said Chambers of Garcha. “He is just the toughest guy going and a great leader.”

Terry Fox Ravens’ Mateo Frost scored a career-high 19 points Sunday as his team defeated the Heritage Woods Kodiaks in the Fraser North Quad-A title game at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)

Yet in the same breath, Chambers stressed the importance of others being able to step up and play leading roles against a Heritage Woods team which did a great job of taking away so much of what his team likes to do.

Like Garcha, 6-foot-2, 170-pound Mateo Frost was a shining light, not only scoring a career-high 19 points (including a clutch three with 42.3 seconds remaining to make it 63-58), but combining his offensive flair with a level of nitty-gritty play that had him crashing to the Langley Events Centre court as the barometer of his team’s toughness.

Brendan Nightingale, the 6-foot-6 centre, scored all 13 of his points in the second half for the winners.

For Heritage Woods, Carter McCauley led the way with 18 points, while Kai Rawnsley scored 11 and Aidan Wilkie nine.

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