The Coast Union High School boys basketball team pounded Laton and Tranquillity in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, delivering a message that the Broncos are more than ready for Coast Valley League play.
Coast routed the Laton Mustangs 58-31 at home Friday night, Jan. 6, and hammered the Tranquillity Tigers 56-25 the next day in the Santa Lucia Middle School gym.
Against Laton, Coast got 21 points from Jez Lawson, 13 from Sam MacKinnon (who hit four 3-pointers), and nine from Auggie Johnson (on three 3-pointers) — along with some great rebounding by several players — to dominate the Mustangs in a nonleague game.
Laton, a high school in the San Joaquin Valley with 176 students, was effectively shut down by the Broncos’ defense. Lawson grabbed seven rebounds; Roberto Cuevo had six; Sam MacKinnon, Jack MacKinnon and Johnson each had three.
Saturday’s game was moved to the middle school because of a leaky gymnasium roof at Coast Union. When it rains for any substantial amount of time, water drips onto the court, making it unsafe for basketball. The roof has been patched several times but is clearly in need of a more permanent fix.
Despite the change of venue, Saturday’s game against Tranquillity — a stronger team from a bigger school (452 students) — went well for Coast Union. The Broncos prevailed behind 22 points from Jack MacKinnon (who also had six steals and four rebounds); 18 from Johnson (plus four rebounds and three steals); and six points and three assists from Lawson.
Sam MacKinnon netted seven points, grabbed five rebounds and had a steal. Riley Kennedy grabbed seven rebounds, had two steals and scored four points.
Sometimes a team can play its finest game of the year, where every player is on the same page, there’s great on-court communication, the defense is alert and stout, and the basketball finds the hoop consistently. And that team still can lose.
That’s what happened to the Coast Union junior varsity Thursday, Jan. 5 against the Nipomo Titans — a team that had 14 players dressed out compared with Coast Union’s seven players. Coast lost by a whisker, 41-39, at Nipomo.
“It was the best game that the Broncos played so far this year,” coach Michael McAvoy said. “The team played as a unit … (played) excellent defense and communicated on both ends of the floor.”
The top scorer was David May (13 points). David Amodei added 12 points, while Nate Markham poured in eight points. David Nolan led the team in rebounds with eight, also blocking two shots and scoring four points.
On Friday, Jan. 6, the young Broncos dominated the Laton Mustangs, 48-20. Again, McAvoy praised the quality of communication, which helped the team “on defense and offense.”
“The improvement in the Broncos’ game is a direct result of protecting the ball and keeping turnovers in single digits,” McAvoy explained. He also credited the “maturity” the JV players are showing as a reason for the team’s positive outcomes.
Markham led the scoring with 11 points, and May and David Nolan were credited with 10 points each; Amodei had nine points.
However on Saturday, Jan. 7, the JV Broncos met their match against the Tranquillity Tigers, losing 46-34. McAvoy cited “turnovers and poor communication” (Coast committed 24 turnovers) as missteps that led to the defeat.
Again Markham topped the scoring for Coast Union, hitting for 12 points. Nolan had 10 points and grabbed four rebounds.
Rain causes postponements
Winter rains have been a cause for celebration after four long years of drought in Cambria, but the deluge over the past few weeks has thrown a monkey wrench into basketball schedules at Coast Union.
Both the boys and girls games against Maricopa High School, scheduled for Tuesday night, Jan. 10, were postponed because of the leaky roof at the Coast Union gym. Coaches have been able to use the Santa Lucia Middle School gym in the past, but it was unavailable Tuesday.
Coast Union’s boys and girls teams are scheduled to be at home again Friday, Jan. 13, for games against Coast Valley League rival Cuyama Valley. The junior varsity game starts at 3:30 p.m.; the girls varsity teams take the court at 5 p.m.; the boys varsity tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m..