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September 22, 2023

Falcons set to take flight for challenging league season | Boys basketball 

Scotts Valley continues to struggle with depleted depth chart

Scotts Valley High boys basketball coach Gabe Gonzales has been on the same boat with just about every winter sports coach by trying to keep players healthy from both injuries and illness.

The Falcons took a big hit on the depth chart two weeks ago that left them with barely enough bodies to build a starting lineup.

Despite the depleted roster, they still put up a fight with just six players in a 79-57 loss to Oakwood in the Black Bracket championship of the Watsonville Wildcatz Tournament on Dec. 10.

“We feel that on any given night we can compete with anybody,” Gonzales said. “We just got worn down.”

Senior point guard Tristan Roure mentioned some thought they’d get blown out from the get-go. He kept the Falcons within reach going into halftime and his teammates played with a ton of heart, he said.

“We got gassed and it’s a hard team to play against,” Roure said. “I think we just showed a lot of people what we could do.”

Roure made his return to the court this week after he sat out last week, forcing him to miss three games including back-to-back losses against Mountain View and Marina, respectively. 

He scored a game-high 32 points, including nine points in two overtime periods, in an 83-81 double overtime win over Watsonville High on Tuesday night.

With the win, Scotts Valley snapped a three game losing-streak.

“We’re hoping that we can move forward and win because this win tonight puts us one win away from the playoffs,” Gonzales said. “That’s our number one goal, to make [Central Coast Section] playoffs. It was a huge win for us.” 

Roure—who last season earned All-Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Second Team honors—is the lone senior on a Scotts Valley team featuring a nice balance of five juniors and four sophomores. 

He’ll have upperclassmen John Murphy, Evan Anderson, Niko Iles, Daniel Alivov and Chase Welle helping him lead the way.

Meanwhile sophomores include Taylor Knox, Kit DeForest and the Shilling twins—Will and Zach are already making an impact. 

“We have a lot of confidence for a young team that we have,” Gonzales said. “For us, we’re just looking to play and push the ball.

Knox and Will Shilling both made their way to the starting lineup after an impressive start for the Falcons.

“I definitely wanted to be one of the starters on the team, make a big impact and make Scotts Valley basketball one of the best in the league,” Knox said. 

Playing teams such as Oakwood are a big confidence booster, especially because it showed the Falcons could hang with difficult teams, Knox said.

“That’s how we have to go into every game, knowing we could win,” he said.

Roure said they revamped their play style this season whereas the past couple of years they took it slow and scored less points. 

“I think our whole mindset this year is just to run fast breaks, get layups and just push it,” Roure said. “We have young kids and we can just keep running.”

Roure praised Shilling for his athleticism and Knox’s ability to hit a shot from just about anywhere on the court. 

However, having a young squad also means pressure from the older and bigger kids at the varsity level, which results in numerous turnovers. 

As the point guard, Roure’s job is running the plays correctly and spending time dribbling and working on passing during practice. He mentioned it’s an important part to limit those high turnovers.

Gonzales—who coached the girls’ team last season—said that Roure bought into what the coaching staff wanted to do as a team and accepted the leader role. 

“Tristan understands that some games he’s going to score some points, some games he’s going to pass the ball and in every game he’s going to have to rebound,” Gonzales said. “He’s accepted it and we’re really proud of his maturity. We hope that he believes in himself, that he could play at the next level because he really can.”

The rest of the players are also onboard and Gonzales hopes they can continue to buy in moving forward. He believes the program’s future is bright but that doesn’t go with not working hard, he said. 

“This is a special group for me because this group seems to want to learn each and every day, and wants to work hard each and every day. You don’t get that every year,” he said. “I know deep down that I’m appreciating these boys and what they bring to the table.”

Knox said their main goal is to make a deep run in the Central Coast Section postseason and hopefully win a championship. 

Scotts Valley was eliminated by Sacred Heart Prep in the Division IV semifinals in the abbreviated 2021 spring season.

The Falcons (6-5) will play at the Fremont High Tournament in Sunnyvale on Dec. 28-30 prior to their league opener at Santa Cruz (6-3) on Jan. 3 at 7:30pm.

The Falcons will compete for the SCCAL crown against the heavy favored Cardinals, who have senior Aden Cury—the league’s reigning most valuable player—making his return.

Others in the mix for a league title include Aptos (5-4), Harbor (6-4), San Lorenzo Valley (3-4) and Soquel (3-5).

Roure said facing difficult teams in the preseason has been nerve-racking, especially with the limited number of players available to play. 

But he’s confident they can continue to grow and are fully capable of reaching the SCCAL Tournament championship game against Santa Cruz.

“Like Oakwood, it’s going to be a hard game to play but we just proved that we could run with a team like that,” he said. “We’ll see how we do.”

Juan Reyes
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.

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