For about a quarter, it looked like the Delta Pacers might be a handful for the overwhelming pre-season favourite of the Sur-Del Boys AAA Basketball League. Then the North Delta Huskies went to work.
The province’s ninth ranked team outscored the hosts 24-5 in the second quarter and cruised to an 88-51 victory on Wednesday night in Ladner.
It was the league opener for both squads with the next four weeks and seven games to determine match-ups for the league playoffs, slated for Feb. 21 to 23 at Clayton Heights in Surrey.
Pacers head coach Dave Jones and assistant coach Steve Chong were probably holding their breath before tip-off, wondering how their team would hold up with just eight available players, thanks to injuries and other commitments.
The hosts came out of a blistering-paced opening 10 minutes trailing by three (18-15) before the Huskies’ full court defensive pressure, slick transition game and depth of talent took over. North Delta opened the second quarter with an 8-2 run and it would only get worse as they turned errant passes into easy baskets.
The Huskies’ balanced attack included 24 points from guard Harvir Hothi and another 22 from Krishan Jeet as four players finished in double figures.
“We got a little confused by their defence and they are very good at passing the ball,” said Jones. “We just got to bring our intensity up with everything we do, especially against a team like that. They can dribble. They can shoot and they are very interchangeable.”
The Pacers have showed some promise in tournament and exhibition play, including an 80-74 loss to provincially ranked Steveston-London back in December.
Impressive Grade 11s Lucas Kosa and Macin Macdonald took care of most of their scoring Wednesday with 21 and 15 points respectively.
Delta will look to bounce back when Clayton Heights visits Ladner next Wednesday (Jan. 25) before hosting a two-day tournament, Jan 27 to 28, with McRoberts, Seycove and McNair on the schedule.
“I guess the (league) schedule is good in that we played the hardest team first, but we need to at least match other teams’ intensity if we are going to compete,” Jones added. “I watched the second half of South Delta and Grandview last night (a 92-83 SDSS win) and both teams played hard.”