After squeezing by Flintridge Prep in the opening game of the Santa Barbara Holiday Tournament, 40-39 on Tuesday, Dec. 27, the Coast Union boys basketball team had a much higher mountain to climb against Westlake the next day.
Westlake 59, Coast 30
Given that Westlake High School has 10 times as many students (2,389) as Coast Union (230), coach Tim May knew that his players were up to their ears in alligators, as the saying goes. Westlake plays in the 2AA CIF Division; Coast is 5A, one notch away from the smallest school category. Final score: Warriors 59, Broncos 30.
Westlake moved the ball in transition so effortlessly and with such precision that May said, “There were many times they had our heads turning multiple directions.”
The Broncos competed effectively in the first quarter, but as the game progressed, “Westlake just wore us down” and Coast was not able to match up the rest of the game, May explained.
Sam MacKinnon topped the scoring for Coast with nine points, and Auggie Johnson chipped in eight points and three rebounds.
Jez Lawson grabbed nine rebounds and scored seven points.
Santa Barbara 58, Coast 41
The next tournament opponent, the Santa Barbara High School Dons (2,232 students) offered another very steep challenge for May’s seven Bronco players, and Coast fought hard but lost 58-41 on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Unlike the mismatch against the Warriors, Coast Union hung in there against the Dons (a 1AA CIF Division team), and the Broncos were competitive through the middle of the third quarter — the first 20 minutes of the game. But, May said, “The wheels seemed to come off the bus in the final 12 minutes.
“Defensively, we stopped communicating. … We over-dribbled, we stopped player movement, and we had way too many turnovers to try and beat a team like Santa Barbara.”
May was quick to point out he’s not making excuses, that indeed the Dons are a high-caliber squad. However, he noted that Roberto Cueva was only able to play part time due to the deep thigh bruise he suffered in the first game of the tournament. Besides Cueva’s important presence on the floor — especially on defense — “he is one of our best communicators and on-ball switches,” May added.
Lawson led all scorers for Coast with 16 points, and he hauled down five boards. Johnson scored 12 and had four rebounds, while Sam MacKinnon tossed in nine points and contributed six rebounds. Sam’s twin brother, Jack, had seven rebounds and dished out five assists in the loss.
Coast 44, Carpinteria 37
On Friday, Dec. 30 Coast Union faced another group of Warriors, this time from Carpinteria High School (648 students). The Broncos had won just one of three going into their fourth game in four days, and they were determined to balance their books at 2-2.
They achieved that goal by winning 44-37.
Speaking of playing four games in four days, May said such a packed schedule puts a lot of pressure in a team with just seven players.
“You aren’t going to see the best basketball” from a small team with that kind of rigorous schedule, he explained in an email interview.
In fact, the game against Carpinteria started out very well for Coast as the Broncos scored 10 points in the first quarter and didn’t allow the Warriors a single point. However, things changed in the second quarter. “Everyone seemed to be on a different page,” May explained.
“There were mental errors, fuses were short” and the coach had an “eerie” feeling that his team was repeating the lapses that led to an overtime loss against North Bakersfield in an earlier tournament. Hence, at halftime May encouraged the Broncos to communicate better on defense and just have fun, notwithstanding the fatigue from four pressure games in four days.
The Broncos were up by 13 early in the fourth quarter but they began fouling the Warriors, “engaging with the other team,” is how May put it. Bottom line: The game got very physical, and officials began calling fouls more quickly.
“I completely agree with what the officials did because this is what you do when the game becomes a bit ugly — and I hope we learned a valuable lesson from that,” the coach said.
Despite his bruised thigh, Cueva led Coast in that four game with 10 points and six rebounds. Lawson tallied nine points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jack and Sam MacKinnon each scored eight points, and Jack chipped in with 10 rebounds. Johnson had seven points for Coast.
Said May after returning to Cambria: “We are 8-3, and I am really pleased with where we are right now.”
He emphasizes the “Three H’s” — stay hungry, stay humble, and keep hustling.
The Coast Union junior varsity basketball team traveled to Santa Maria to play the Santa Maria High School JV team Tuesday, Jan. 3, and lost to the Saints 54-42.
David Amodei was the high scorer for Coast Union with 26 points, according to coach Michael McAvoy. Cameron Castle chipped in with nine points for the Broncos.
The JV team has a home game set for 5 p.m. Friday Jan. 6 against Laton High School, and another home game the following day at noon against Tranquillity High School.
The girls varsity basketball team took it on the chin from Minaretes High School on Tuesday night, losing 34-17, in a home game.
The next home game for the Coast Union boys basketball team is Friday night, Jan. 6, a nonleague battle against Laton High School. On Saturday, Jan. 7, the Broncos entertain Tranquillity High School at 1:30 p.m. — right after the Bronco junior varsity team plays at noon. Both varsity games will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5).
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Bronco varsity will entertain Maricopa in the first Coast Valley League game of the season. The 6:30 p.m. game and will also be broadcast on KTEA-FM.