ABBOTSFORD — If you want to know just how good a point guard Abbotsford Christian’s Zach Meinen was over his senior year, first ask his basketball coach to tell you a story about how well Meinen played his second-favourite sport: Volleyball.
“Zach’s had been an outside hitter his whole high school career,” begins Abby Christian head basketball coach Keith Stewart.
“But this year, the volleyball team didn’t have a setter,” he continued. “To become a setter is like trying to become a point guard. Zach did that. And not only that, he was named a provincial all-star, too. He did something in one season that it takes most people years to learn.”
Of course all of that did nothing but enhance the Grade 12 campaign Meinen enjoyed in his primary sport, earning MVP honours in leading the basketball Knights (23-6) to the inaugural East Valley Double-A conference championship. He entered provincials averaging 20.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game on the season.
On Wednesday, all of those numbers, along with a heaping helping of the intangibles, helped Meinen earn selection to the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association’s 2019-20 Double-A all-star team.
BCHSBBA DOUBLE A ALL STARS
Graham Block (6-4 F, Surrey-Southridge)
Nikola Guzina (6-8 F, Vancouver-King George)
Tyler Jones (5-7 G, Prince Rupert-Charles Hays)
Kai Leighton (6-4 F, Prince Rupert-Charles Hays)
Zachary Meinen (5-9 G, Abbotsford Christian)
Juan Navarro (6-2 F, Mill Bay-Brentwood College)
Cameron Sale (6-1 G, Prince George-D.P. Todd)
Coban Scott (6-3 G, Victoria-Lambrick Park)
Bergren Van Lent (6-5 F, Lake Country-George Elliot)
Gareth Wintjes (6-1 G, Vancouver-King George)
At 5-foot-9, Meinen was, inch-for-inch, one of the top leapers in the province, and when he put all of that together with his best innate qualities, it’s no surprise he was selected the tournament MVP of not only the East Valley championships, but the Sa-Hali Sabres and B.C. Christian Schools tournaments as well.
And just as he accepted his role as a rookie setter for the betterment of the volleyball team, Meinen finished his high school basketball career in exactly the same way.
In the early stages of an eventual 85-68 loss to West Vancouver’s Mulgrave Titans on the final day of the B.C. tournament March 7 at the LEC, Meinen’s Abby Christian back-court mate Spencer Langelaar suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out of the contest.
Stewart decided to turn Meinen loose, and thus in the final game of his high school career, Meinen scored 42 points in ultra-efficient fashion, shooting 18-of-36 from the field, including 6-of-14 from beyond the arc, with six rebounds and three assists to boot.
“I hit a couple of early shots, and then I decided to just put it all out there in my last game,” said Meinen.
Aside from his innate understanding of team dynamics, Meinen owns a jump-shooting game capable of turning a game, even when opposition defences are committed to stopping him.
“Talk to any of the good teams we played, and they would all say ‘We have to stop Meinen or we lose,’” Stewart added. “He just shoots it effortlessly. He’ll shoot five feet beyond the line just like other guys shoot 15 footers. And he is so quick, he will cross you over and you’re thinking to yourself ‘OK, get going’ but then you realize his defender is already five feet behind him.”
Coming off the September-through-March grind of helping lead the volleyball and basketball teams to their respective provincial championships, Meinen is now investigating his options as they pertain to continuing to play basketball at the university level.
BCHSBBA SINGLE-A ALL STARS
Devan Boyko (6-2 G, Masset-Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay)
Matthew Frank (Ahousaht-Maaqtusiis)
Caleb Graham (6-0 G, Chilliwack-Unity Christian)
Indy Hallett (6-1 G, Kelowna Christian)
Dawson Hartskamp (6-3 F, Chilliwack-Highroad Academy)
Cameron Kerslake (5-11 G, Barriere)
Steven Li (5-10 G, Vancouver-St. John’s)
Aidan Morris (6-2 G, Chilliwack-Highroad Academy)
Keegan Schuurman (6-4 F, Chilliwack-Unity Christian)
Colton Vander Kooi (6-5 F, Chilliwack-Unity Christian)
TOMORROW — B.C. boys Triple-A all-stars!
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