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Two GNS Senior Basketball players are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to the sport by being named to Sportvictoria’s Lower Island Allstar Team for Tier II. Sam Zhao ’20 and Connor Elliott ’21 were both named to the Allstar team after having a great season as Gryphons.
“It is well deserved,” said Harvey Thorau, co-coach. “Connor finished third and Sam finished 10th in the league scoring and both played key roles in the Gryphons finishing 8th at the Provincial Championship held at the Langley Event Centre, just before Spring Break.”
“What makes this accolade even more special,” says Mr. Thorau, “is that the votes were cast by opposing coaches. It is a reflection and recognition of the hard work and dedication that the pair put into honing their skills this season.”
Co-coach Steve King said he is proud of all the hard work Sam and Connor have put in and is happy to see them recognized.
“Coach Harv and I are extremely proud of the team’s efforts this season,” he said. “Sam and Connor being named Sportvictoria Allstars is well deserved. Sam was named Island MVP at the Single A Island championship tourney. He helped lead the way as the Gryphons defended their title. Connor was named “Best Defender” at the Single A Island Championship tourney and had a season-high 39 points vs Royal Bay during the regular season.”
Sam, who is in his last year at GNS, was also recognized with a spot on the South Island team for the Senior’s Allstar Classic. Unfortunately, to comply with the rules around social distancing, the game was cancelled.
“I have come a long way from last season,” he said. “Makes me feel somewhat accomplished. I wouldn’t have made it there without my coaches, Mr. Thorau and Mr. King, and my teammates.”
With the basketball season done, Sam reflects that it was a good start for their young team and he’s excited to see what they can accomplish next year.
“Overall, we didn’t finish the season where we were aiming at, but it helped to pave the paths on what it’s like playing at provincials for a lot of the younger guys, and hopefully they can create history next year.”
While it’s his last season wearing the Gryphon jersey, Sam has some advice.
“Don’t think too much, just play. Defence over everything else,” he said.
For Connor, making the Allstar team was an objective he had worked towards all season.
“It feels good,” he explained. “It was an individual goal I had going into the season, so it feels pretty good to reach that goal.”
Next season, Connor hopes to continue with both the individual and team successes.
“Next year, I hope we can compete and win in provincials,” he said. “I think this can be done by us playing as a team, and individually just continuing to work on our skill sets.”