Atascadero High’s boys basketball team seems to be getting better and better as its season progresses.
And the timing couldn’t be better as the Greyhounds started their PAC 7 league season Friday on the road against San Luis Obispo.
They won 68-53 win in a game they led by 27 points after the third quarter.
The Greyhounds (8-6, 1-0) have won eight of their past nine games, including the final against Paso Robles in the tournament they hosted over the holiday break.
They used a balanced attack with 11 players scoring in Friday’s game. Junior guard Connor Kim was the only Greyhound who scored in double digits, notching 12, including two 3-pointers in the second half.
With the game in hand, the Greyhounds went to their bench at the start of the fourth quarter against the Tigers (6-9, 1-1), who were playing without injured starting guard Blake Shapazian, who watched the game from the sideline on crutches.
Atascadero coach Matt Knudson credited his team’s unselfishness for the fluidity in the offense that led to numerous open shots off fast breaks and dribble penetration kickouts.
“We’re really sharing the ball well,” Knudson said. “We’ve worked on moving the ball. I think we’re getting better as a team.”
Junior point guard Robbie Berwick, a quarterback in football, operated as the quarterback of the offense on the court, looking to pass first and take his opportunities to score when he was presented with openings.
The Greyhounds lived up to their name by getting out and running as often as they could.
Berwick finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds and six assists.
Kim was the benefactor of some of Berwick’s feeds and converted an explosive buzzer-beating layup to put the Greyhounds ahead 18-10 after the first quarter.
“This is the best game I’ve had since coming off of my (patella tendinitis) injury earlier this season,” Kim said. “We had a lot of energy. Rob did a good job of leading the offense.”
Their first-quarter lead was never threatened as the Tigers had trouble generating offense, running into traffic in Atascadero’s full-court press and turning the ball over often.
Frustration showed on the faces of Tigers players such as David Thoresen, who averages about 22 points a game but was held to 10 on Friday.
The Tigers never stopped fighting, closing the gap to an 18-point deficit in the fourth against the Greyhounds reserves.
San Luis Obispo forward Carlson Schwoerer had 13 points in the game, including an impressive low-post effort on one possession in which he retrieved multiple missed shots and converted his layup.
Guard Marley Stallings had some nifty moves, including a second half running floater on the baseline that arched high in the air and swished through the hoop.
But in the end, the Greyhounds were too much, hitting seven of 18 from 3-point range and controlling the paint as well. Joe Johnson had six points and five boards for Atascadero.
The Greyhounds have a big week ahead, facing Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande and St. Joseph on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, respectively.
“We know have a tough week ahead,” Kim said. “We’re going to have to stay together and get mentally tough. We’ll also have to stay healthy and work hard to win those games.”