Versatile Mayorga helped put Gators over the top

Walnut Grove
Walnut Grove's Josh Mayorga shoots over top of White Rock Christian Academy's Vartan Tanielian during the Fraser Valley championship final. The Gators won this game 73-64 and then were victorious 59-53 two weeks later in the provincial championship finals over the same Warriors squad.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Moving across the country can be hard enough for a teenager, but imagine being an elite basketball player and you are leaving one of the province's top teams.

That was the situation Josh Mayorga found himself in last summer.

Mayorga was a key player on the H.B. Beal senior boys basketball team, which was a provincial semifinalist in his Grade 11 year, But instead of preparing for his senior season and another crack at the gold medal, Mayorga was readying for a move west from London, Ont. to B.C.

"I thought it would be worse (leaving) buy my coaches here and my teammates, made it really easy," Mayorga explained.

"They were really welcoming. It wasn't hard at all."

Mayorga spent part of the summer emailing back and forth with Walnut Grove Gators coach George Bergen, his soon-to-be coach.

And after arriving in Langley, one of the first things he did was check out his new team training.

So what were his first impressions?

"They reminded me a lot of Beal," he said.

"And I thought it would be a good spot for me to fit in."

But Mayorga, who turns 18 on May 1, did more than just fit in.

"I think he was kind of shy and felt out the ropes a little bit but he fit in fairly quickly," Bergen said.

"Part of that is his personality, he is just a real good guy."

The other reason Mayorga fit in so well with the Gators was the fact he had game.

"(Josh) is an outstanding rebounder; he is a very good defender on bigs in the post and he can really pass the ball," Bergen said.

"And he has excellent hands: he can do a lot of things because his hands are quick and gets a lot of deflections and steals. And he can block shots.

"He has got a real good feel for the game."

Mayorga played a key role in helping the Gators get over the hump.

In 2012, Walnut Grove lost by a single point in the finals of the B.C. AAA boys basketball finals to the Terry Fox Ravens. But his year, the team capped off their season with a 59-53 victory over the White Rock Christian Warriors in the provincial championship final.

"What stood out about Josh, besides his abilities, were his poise, his confidence and his calmness," Bergen said.

"He just played calm in many respects, never really got flustered by a lot of things that happen."

Over the four games, Mayorga averaged nearly 13 points, 10.5 rebounds, three steals and 1.5 assists per game en route to being named a tournament first team all-star.

Mayorga prides himself on his ability to contribute in more ways than one.

"A little bit of everything," he described about his game.

"I like to be as versatile as I can and do what the coaches ask of me.

"Do my best at whatever I have to do."

He credits his older brother, Arnold, for helping hone his game.

Despite the five-year age gap, the two had some heated battles on the court.

"He never took it easy on me," Mayorga said about his older brother.

"(Arnold) was older and stronger and better. Then you play competition your age, and things get a little easier."

With his high school playing days behind him, Mayorga is hoping to stay in the game at a university in B.C.

But before that, he has been invited to play in a provincial all-star game for graduating seniors. The game is scheduled for the Langley Events Centre on April 21 (Sunday). The game tips off at 4 p.m.




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