Building basketball at Burnett

School flooring seven teams this season including senior boys team being guided by former USports player

With his team having a heck of a time dealing with full court pressure that resulted in a sizeable second half deficit, Jamal Mullings made a plea to his opposing coaches.

“I told the other team to please keep that press on so the boys can learn. If they take the foot off the gas then we are not going to be able to get better. We are trying to put a quality product on the court. As long as the guys have fun and learn to play quality basketball, that’s a win in itself.”

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The Burnett Breakers will be in tough to make the Richmond senior boys basketball playoffs.

A 100-70 loss to the McNair Marlins Tuesday night leaves them with an 0-5 record. However, wins and losses don’t reflect the bigger picture at a school where even flooring a team was a challenge until recently.

This season, Burnett has seven boys and girls teams competing in the various city leagues — ranging from Bantam to Senior. That’s giving roughly 90 kids an opportunity to experience competitive basketball which will always be the most important element of high school sports.

Mullings, a Toronto native who played at the USports level in basketball and football, is in his first season coaching at the school. He came out west initially to play for the Vancouver Knights semi-pro men’s team and since has launched his own basketball academy — the Vancouver Huskies.

“There is a great administration and great kids here,” he continued. “The school needs some outside support and I am just doing everything I can to give them that. Regardless of the scores, coming into this I knew it was going to be a building process.

“It’s tough coming in at the senior level and trying to make a difference. I had two Grade 10s playing their first (senior) game today. We are building as we go along. Most of all they are learning life skills. Show up to practice on time. How to warm-up. How to prepare. Things like that.”

There is promise on the horizon for the Granville Avenue school.

The Bantam boys are 5-1 in league play. That team is coached by vice-principal Lester Leung while a number of players are also involved in the Huskies academy under Mullings. The Bantam girls are also off to an impressive start and take a 4-2 record into this week’s action.

“I will be back next year for sure,” added Mullings. “Building a successful program takes at least three years and sometimes even five.”

The good news is the school is heading in the right direction again.

At the buzzer…

Alex Hsiao led his team in scoring against McNair with 18 points. Caleb Dyhengco added 13 and Theo Galano-Tan nine. The Marlins (2-2) went on a 13-4 run to open the third quarter to take control, led by 27 points from Roman Nahal.

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