Cowichan T-Birds get into basketball groove with Welcome Back tourney

Expectations are high for the Cowichan Secondary School Thunderbirds as the senior boys basketball season begins this season with the team’s own Welcome Back Tournament this week.

"I feel pretty good," head coach Sandeep Heer said. "The guys are working hard, and they’re excited to get playing."

This year’s team boasts "a little bit of everything," according to Heer.

"We’ve got size, speed, a lot of athleticism, a lot of great things," he said.

Grade 12 phenom Josh Charles, who is joined this year by his younger brother Noah, will be a focal point of the T-Birds, but Heer isn’t pinning all his hopes to one player.

"Everyone is there to work hard and play," the coach said. "He will definitely be one of our main pieces, but there are lots of guys working and earning playing time. There are 10 or 12 guys who are going to play a lot. I think the starting group will change a lot this year. The guys are challenging each other to improve."

The T-Birds were seventh in the pre-season rankings, and have since dropped to ninth, despite not having played yet.

"I think the rankings are meaningless in a lot of ways," Heer said. "If we want to be a top-10 team, we have to go out and earn it. We certainly have the talent to be in the top seven, for sure."

Cowichan will open the tournament on Thursday with a 2 p.m. game against Ballenas. Games will continue at Cow High’s main campus on Thursday, and the main campus and the Quamichan campus on Friday. Saturday’s games will all go at the main campus, with the final at 5 p.m.