The Scotts Valley High School boys varsity basketball team aims to improve and develop as a team in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League after a preseason that saw them win their first three games in more than a year.
After a 0-22 season last year, head coach Charles Burks seeks to build a basketball program and make the season enjoyable for the players and community.
“The main thing is to have fun,” Burks said. “Play hard and enjoy the game.”
The Falcons are currently 3-6 in pre-season, with wins over North Salinas High and Alisal High.
“The kids are getting better each game,” said Burks. “That’s what it is about-developing as a team.”
The Falcons have five seniors on the team, Willie Johnston, Colton Marshall, Joe Locke, Jake Rehnberg and Alec Turowski along with returning players, Jack Codiga, Alec Vucinich, and Joe Espinola.
“We have more depth this year,” said Burks, “and we’re more athletic.”
The team will play in the Condor Christmas Classic tournament that started after press-time on Thursday, Dec. 26 before entering SCCAL play at 7 p.m. on January 8 at San Lorenzo Valley High.
Coach Burks looks forward to the competition in league.
“Anybody can beat anybody on any given night,” Burks said. “We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Cougars height, teamwork are strengths
San Lorenzo Valley High boys varsity basketball team will win as a team and lose as a team this winter.
Head Coach Marcus Northcutt has made this clear with the team philosophy: “It’s a we thing.”
“The philosophy is based off that ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ mindset,” said Northcutt. “ It’s really caught on within the team.”
The Cougars are currently 4-5 in the pre-season including wins over Monte Vista Christian, Pajaro Valley, and Watsonville twice.
The team goals for this season are to finish third in the SCCAL and to qualify for the Central Coast Section.
“It’s a very tough league” said Northcutt. “We have more talent than we had last year but we’re young (related to) varsity experience.”
Led by captain Alex Kanter and fellow returning players, Ian Johnson, Chris Pasternak, and Shaden Pias, the team has 10 new members.
However, with seven players 6-feet, 1-inches and taller, the Cougars hold, among other advantages, the ability to have a lineup of players 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5 and 6-8.
Along with their height, the players have bought into the system.
“The team is hard-working, committed and coachable,” said coach Northcutt.
The Cougars have three more pre-season games in the Surf n' Slam San Diego Tournament that begins December 26, before SCCAL play starts with the Cougars hosting the Falcons at 7 p.m. on January 8.