Marcus Basara didn’t necessarily expect to be leading the West Kelowna Warriors in scoring four months into the BCHL season.
Still, being counted on by his teammates on a nightly basis is a role the 19-year-old from Coquitlam is more than comfortable with.
“It’s always fun to be a guy that’s relied on by your team, to help your team win,” said the 6-foot,185-pound Basara. “I set that challenge for myself every day that I go to the rink, I want to be a player that my coaches and teammates really depend on. So far this year it’s been going pretty well.”
In 35 games this season, Basara has has a team-leading 20 goals and 42 points.
That’s already one point more than he registered in all of 2011-12, while splitting the season between the Vernon Vipers and the Warriors.
With lengthy absences due to injuries to players such as veterans Max French and Brett McKinnon, Basara’s contributions have been heartily welcomed by the Warriors.
Acquired in a trade with the Vipers last December, Basara has stepped his game up to a new level this season, thanks both to his experience and his overall skill set.
“He’s such a strong skater, probably one of the best in our league,” said Warriors head coach and GM Rylan Ferster. “He’s super skilled, too, he has great ability one-on-one, and he does some pretty neat things out there with the puck.
“He’s a third-year guy we’re going to lean on a little bit as the season winds down,” added Ferster.
His desire to pursue a hockey career took Basara far away from the comforts of his family when he was just 15. Basara spent two seasons—his Grade 10 and 11 years—at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask., before returning to B.C. to join the Vernon Vipers for the 2010-11 BCHL season.
Last season, his travels paid off in the form of a scholarship with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he’ll head for the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
As for more immediate business, Basara hopes to make a major contribution down the stretch as the Warriors look to secure a playoff spot in the BCHL’s Interior Division. With just four teams making the post season and the race currently tighter than a drum, every game is crucial. Basara has confidence in his teammates to get the job done.
“Every game within the conference from here on in matters, they’ll be like four-point games,” said Basara, who wore the C for several games for the Warriors during the absence of captain Max French. “It’s going to be tough, but I feel like we have a really good team and we’ll find a way to make a push over the next few weeks. We’re starting to get healthy, and I think once we get most of our guys back, we’ll be in good shape.”
Basara and the Warriors will host the Powell River Kings Friday at Royal LePage, before heading to Trail on Saturday to play the Smoke Eaters in a key inter-divisional matchup.