Cambrian: Sports

Coast Union boys enter basketball playoffs as top seed

David Amodei has scored 35 points in his last two games for the JV Broncos. Here he controls the ball against Valley Christian Academy earlier this season.
David Amodei has scored 35 points in his last two games for the JV Broncos. Here he controls the ball against Valley Christian Academy earlier this season. Special to The Cambrian

Coast Union’s boys varsity basketball team wrapped up the regular season Feb. 10 with a 67-27 victory at Shandon. It was the ninth time in the past 10 Coast Valley League games that the Broncos scored at least 60 points — having only failed to reach that mark Feb. 3 against Valley Christian Academy, when they scored 58.

The Broncos, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Division 5A, received a bye in the first round of postseason play. They’ll host a playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. The Broncos will entertain either the California Academy of Mathematics and Science from Carson (on the campus of CSU Dominguez Hills) or Besant Hill School of Ojai. These two teams tangle Wednesday, Feb. 15, to see which one travels to Coast Union.

Against Shandon, senior Jez Lawson led Coast Union with 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also had six assists and three steals. Jack MacKinnon had 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Thor Ronemus led the team with 14 rebounds; he scored five points and dished out three assists. Auggie Johnson had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and five steals for Coast Union.

Coach Tim May was asked about the availability of Sam MacKinnon, who has been receiving physical therapy for his injured ankle. Having a bye for the first game is “obviously an advantage for us, because it gives Sam two more days to heal and strengthen.”

“He was moving without pain last weekend,” May explained. “He should be good to go when we tip off Friday.”

After mowing down 10 weaker opponents in the CVL, and facing tougher competition, May said, “I can say that we are ready. This group is hungry. … They love to compete. To say we are excited … would be an understatement.”

May sees his team — six experienced seniors and junior Riley Kennedy — as being “built for playoff basketball. We play solid defense, we limit teams to one shot per possession … and we shoot well.”

Regarding the pressure the top seed Broncos are experiencing, May said “pressure is privilege,” a quote he heard in the pregame coverage before the Super Bowl. And instead of allowing pressure to affect the caliber of play expected from his team, May said, “We are grateful to be in this position … and are honored to be recognized as the top seed.”

Junior varsity

The Coast Union JV basketball team finished up a winning season Friday night, Feb. 10, by defeating the Shandon Outlaws in Shandon, 50-28. The JV Broncos compiled an 11-7 record in the 2016-17 season, the best record in recent years for the up-and-coming Coast basketball players.

Varsity basketball coach Tim May has been keeping a close eye on the JV team because he is losing six of his players to graduation, and he’s counting on players on this year’s JV team to step up in 2017-18 for the varsity program.

The JV team of Nate Markham, David Amodei, David Nolan, Cameron Castle, Jonah Tamoria, Braiden Beauchaine and David May has been under the tutelage of coach Michael McAvoy, in his second year.

In Friday’s game, Amodei led the team with 19 points, and Markham chipped in with 14 points — including a 4-for-4 night at the free throw line.

Nolan had eight points and hauled down nine boards. McAvoy was pleased that the Broncos played “one of their best games of the year on defense,” and committed only three fouls.

McAvoy said that, when it comes to chemistry, this team was “by far the best group of boys I have coached. They practiced hard and played hard,” and with practices scheduled at 6:30 a.m., “they did it with nary a grumble.”

Moreover, his seven players rooted for one another and were not afraid to speak up “to help a fellow player be better.” They bought into McAvoy’s offense — which relies heavily on ball control and passing — and learned “the foundations of man-to-man defense,” he said.

Of course, there is always room for basketball players to improve, but McAvoy believes when his players “completely grasp the communication aspect of basketball,” and stay “focused on their goals,” they’ll be in a position to move up to the varsity team.

CIF playoffs

Girls: The Coast Union girls basketball team will host the Newbury Park Adventist Gators at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.

Boys: The boys varsity will host either Besant Hill School or the California Academy of Mathematics & Science at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17. Besant Hill and CAMS played Wednesday night, Feb. 15. Coast Union’s boys and girls games will be broadcast on KTEA-FM, 103.5.