Amidst the ultra-competitive Abbotsford high school basketball scene a friendship was formed, and come this fall those two players will stop duelling on the hardwood and work together as members of the UFV Cascades men’s basketball team.
“We started playing together in Grade 6,” Braich said. “I think it was Friday Night Basketball, but we became family friends and (he’s) one of my best friends. When he committed to UFV, it was definitely a big factor in my decision to come here.”
Sekhon said the pair always dreamed of playing on the same school team, but he was in the French Immersion program at Mouat and couldn’t transfer. They played on regional and club teams, but never had the chance to be on the same school squad until now.
“We finally have the chance to play together,” Sekhon said. “It’s big that I get to play with my best friend.”
Sekhon was a key part in leading the Mouat Hawks to the team’s best-ever finish at the BC high school provincials 4A tournament last month. Mouat placed fourth, and Sekhon was named to the tournament’s first team all-star team.
He averaged 24.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game at provincials, while shooting 46 per cent from the field and 37 per cent from beyond the arc. Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said Sekhon could develop into something special.
“Jordyn’s versatility in terms of being able to guard and play multiple positions is huge,” he said. “He can do almost anything you ask of him because of his height and length and athleticism, and the versatility he brings to the game is a big benefit to our program. He can shoot from the outside, as well as finish in the paint.”
Braich noted, “I think he was one of the best transition players in B.C. this year. He’s an explosive scorer and he has the size and body to compete.”
Braich had a storied high school career, and helped lead the Yale Lions to a 4A provincial championship in his Grade 11 year. He averaged 29.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game that year.
This past year, the Lions came up short at provincials, but Braich averaged 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists at provincials. His senior year also included earning all-star honours at the Abbotsford Senior Snowball Classic, Heritage Woods Kodiak Klassic, W.J. Mouat Hawkball, Yale Big Ball Classic and Fraser Valley tournaments.
Braich and the Lions also took out Sekhon and the Hawks in the finals of the Abbotsford Police Department tournament back in December.
He’s known for his scoring outbursts. In his Grade 11 year, he racked up 63 points against the Sardis Falcons, breaking the Lions’ team record of 61, previously established by Adam Friesen. This season, he scored 58 points against Lord Tweedsmuir in the Fraser Valleys, and poured in 51 points against St. George’s at provincials – the fifth-highest single-game output in tournament history.
“Riley is a highly skilled scorer and whenever he has the ball in his hands he’s a threat,” Friesen said of Braich. “He shoots the three-ball at an incredible rate and he can handle the basketball really well, but how he can shoot off the dribble is what makes him a high-level scorer. Whether he’s going right or left, he can finish with runners, pull-ups or little fade-aways.”
Sekhon added, “His court vision is amazing and when we played together before, we really connected well.”
The pair will kick off their college careers in the fall, with Sekhon red shirting and Braich slotted in as a back-up guard. Sekhon said it’s going to be a thrill to be a member of the Cascades.
“Growing up as a kid I always watched UFV play and what could be better than playing in front of your hometown,” he said.
Braich said the biggest factor for him, aside from Sekhon signing, was the chance to continue working with coach Friesen.
“I’ve been working out with Adam since Grade 6 and just felt UFV is a really good fit for me,” said the Grade 12 student, who plans to begin his academic career at UFV in general studies before moving into the bachelor of science program. “I’m happy to be here.”
He wants to become a player who his coach and teammates can rely on.
“I want to bring offence to this team and my goal is to make the all-rookie team and compete for the Canada West rookie of the year,” he said. “But I also want to learn as much as I can from my teammates.”