Skip to content

New SDSS boys basketball coach at last makes his debut

Teacher Bryan Lopez took over the program last year when COVID prevented games from being played
South Delta Kitsilano
A busy December for Ty Willemsen and the South Delta Sun Devils senior boys basketball team included a comeback win over Kitsilano in the final of their own invitational last weekend.

Bryan Lopez and his South Delta Sun Devils are certainly making up for lost time.

The Sun Devils closed out their pre-Christmas schedule at the Killarney Cougar Classic in Vancouver yesterday (Dec. 16), making it 12 games in 16 days since the B.C. High School Boys Basketball season tipped off. Call it a crash course on game experience after the entire 2020/21 campaign was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lopez is also making his official debut on the sidelines as the first senior boys basketball teacher/coach at the Tsawwassen school in recent memory. The Kitsilano graduate actually joined the SDSS teaching staff a year ago and led his players through weeks of practices as game action never did get underway.

“We had to look at the positive that you are never going to get a time like this where you get a full year to just work on skills and that’s what we did,” said Lopez. “We really honed down on the fundamentals making sure they have the right foot work and they know their positioning. Just working on the minor details.

“We have been going since last January and we had open gym right until mid-June. There was more open gym in September and we did a fall league at (Surrey’s) Tamanawis (Secondary). The boys have been playing a lot.”

Despite SDSS’s rich history of athletics, dating back to the early 1970s, the Sun Devils have never advanced to the senior boys basketball provincials. They play in the South Fraser’s AAAA League designated for the largest schools, which means a steady diet of quality teams, leading up to the post-season in February. South Delta will take a 1-1 league record into 2022 after splitting games with Frank Hurt and Tamanawis.

“All teams in this area are pretty tough and you can’t take anyone for granted,” Lopez continued. “The mindset is you treat every possession as if it’s the last possession of the game. Just think in 30 second increments.”

The Sun Devils’ busy tournament schedule included a victory at their own eight-team invitational last weekend, capped by a come-from-behind 74-72 win over Kitsilano in the final. The hosts also had to battle hard for wins against Sullivan Heights (72-71) and Burnaby Mountain (87-79) in the semi-finals.

Seniors Jackson Lingham and Elliot Loveless, along with Grade 11 Will Anderson, earned player of the game honours.

The win against Kits avenged an 83-76 loss just five days earlier in exhibition play.

“We took it possession by possession and we were slowly able to catch up. I’m happy with the way they persevered,” added Lopez. The biggest plus was we had our fans there too and it’s great to see the community support.”

South Delta’s schedule includes hosting the annual Stebbings/Murray Cup against the Delta Pacers on Jan. 12.