LANGLEY — Going to overtime against W.J. Mouat and winning the Fraser Valley Quad A title in front of a sell-out crowd two Sundays ago at the Langley Events Centre sent Surrey’s No. 2-ranked Tamanawis Wildcats into the lengthy AAAA break with some serious momentum.
Yet as you listen to head coach Mike McKay’s even-toned assessment of the last 10 days, the key to success at this time of the year is to continually move forward and not get de-railed by all of the little things that inevitably seem to occur.
McKay prescribes to that theory when it comes to both his team, and the ripple effect which is annually reflected in the Quad A draw following the unpredictable events of zone playdowns around the province.
“We didn’t have the greatest off-week,” admitted McKay as his No. 2-seeded team, led by superstar guard guard Miguel Tomley took to the floor for a 20-minute shootaround Tuesday at the LEC’s Arnena Bowl complex in advance of its 8:15 p.m. nightcap against North Peace on Wednesday evening. “Our team has been riddled with flu. But it’s what it is at this point and you have to deal with what you have to deal with.”
Yet watching the way senior sensation Tomley meshed with fellow ‘Cats Akash Dhaliwal and Jeevan Sidhu in its Valley OT thriller against Mouat makes you think the trio had not played a better combined game all season.
“It was a big crowd, a high-quality opponent with big kids,” began McKay. “We went down in the game and we came back. It’s something our guys will be able to think back on over the tournament.”
And speaking of the tourney and all the unpredictable elements that conspire and converge to ultimately be revealed within its draw, McKay points out the two games this season which played the greatest effect on just who plays who Wednesday.
“Walnut Grove losing at the buzzer (to WJ. Mouat in the Fraser Valley playoffs) and then Burnaby South losing to St. George’s (in the Lower Mainland semifinals) meant those (losing) teams being seeded where they are seeded,” said McKay.
In no reality is Walnut Grove the No. 10 seed, and Burnaby South, although ranked above Saints all season, come in at No. 8 after the loss.
Without those losses, things could well have been the exact opposite with Grove being seeded No. 3 or 4 and Mouat potentially sitting in their spot.
As well, Burnaby South ends up being an extremely well-heeled No. 8 and a true battle for No. 9 Lord Tweedsmuir.
McKay’s toughest quadrant?
“That bottom quadrant (with No. 3 Handsworth vs. No. 14 Holy Cross and No. 6 Semiahmoo vs. Rutland),” he said. “And if we are lucky enough to get through our quadrant, we would face the winner. I think it’s the soccer group of death.”
As McKay themes, it’s the time of the year when anything can happen and normally does.
The key is to just put your head down regardless and just and keep on going. It’s sage advice for the other 63 teams over all four tiers to take to heart beginning Wednesday morning.
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