LANGLEY, B.C–Training camps are in session and the beginning talks of ranks, stats, and other predictions are also coming to the surface. Some of that talk is directed towards the Gators of Walnut Grove Secondary, [NPH #4-ranked team in the nation].
Last year the team had a breakout season finishing first in the district, second in the Fraser Valley and second in the Province. The team made their way onto the buzzing basketball scene in British Columbia in quite an explosive fashion, lead by a young and budding B.C star, otherwise known as Jadon Cohee.
Cohee is combo guard who demonstrates great range as well as the ability to get to the rim and finish. On top of scoring, he has a great knack for getting his teammates involved; something he often did throughout the season.
However, while Cohee seems to be piling up on the personal achievements and generating interest from division one programs including Washington State, Santa Clara and Portland, he craves the satisfaction of being a provincial champion.
Their second place finish was in part, consequence of an injury during the provincial playoffs. Paul Getz (6’4 Forward) who was a key component to their success, suffered a knee injury during their amazing run, which surely slowed down the Gators. This begs the question, “what if Getz was healthy?”
This pondering, and much more will be answered this year as Getz has returned from his injury to game shape, allowing the Gators to have their energetic anchor in the middle.
Another returning piece is six foot four forward Brad Hoffman. Renowned for his ability to stretch the floor, he is another weapon that will be used throughout the season, making the common zone defense a very unviable option for opponents.
Behind the combination of Cohee’s individual abilities and a plethora of shooters around him, Walnut Grove will be a force on the high school scene on the west coast.
This Gators look to be deadly scoring the ball, but they are also a defensive savvy team. They have an abundance of athletes, and while they may lack a true big, they make up for it in speed and quickness.
The addition of Ontario transfer, Josh Mayorga certainly adds an element of surprise. The six foot four guard will compliment his new team in a big way, adding size, versatility and an overall quality talent.
Mayorga enters the B.C basketball scene after playing for London, ON power house H.B Beal where he partnered with stand out lead guard Michael Provenzano and reached the OFSAA semi-finals last year losing to silver medalists Eastern Commerce (Pre-season NPH #2-ranked team in the nation).
We caught up with the Gator star Jadon Cohee and his excitement for this year’s team was very warranted.
“Our team is very quick and athletic. Everyone can score and defend. Everyone is going to contribute in different ways. We have a lot of depth and we’ll each be called upon, as needed, depending on the skill of the team we’re playing,” explained Cohee.
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“Last year we came in second, this year we want to improve that! That’s our number one goal!”
The championship banner is within their sights, however it won’t be easy as the target is strapped on the backs of the Gators entering 2012-2013.
For some teams, this season is another attempt at making it to the big dance. For Walnut Grove, it’s unfinished business.
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