Cambrian: Sports

Height helps Coast Union boys basketball team

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length” — Robert Frost

Happiness at Coast Union for boys’ basketball this season will result from: a) repeating as Coast Valley League Champions; b) the continuing court maturity and confidence shown by the talented crop of juniors; and c) filling the gym with wildly supportive fans.

It may be a tall order to win the league championship a third straight time, but tall is a key reason — along with defense, shooting skills, conditioning and good work ethic during practice — the Broncos have a golden opportunity to do just that.

On the subject of height, junior center Logan Brandt has really come into his own this season for the varsity. The tallest player on the team at 6’ 7” — and the tallest Bronco in recent years — Brandt is averaging 10.2 points per game so far early in this season, which is a positive upgrade — nearly double his scoring from his sophomore year when he averaged 5.4 points per game.

Thus far this season Brandt is hitting on 45 percent of his field goal tries and is sinking 64 percent of his free throws. Last season Brandt was successful on 37 percent of his 2-point tries and sank just 35 percent of his free throws. As for blocked shots, last year Brandt knocked away 52 opponents’ shots and this season as a junior he has 17 (and that includes most of the 10 games played against schools like Santa Maria, Fresno and Mendota) so far this year.

This season Brandt is averaging 8.9 rebounds in 10 games and in 2011 he averaged 5.1 rebounds per game.

In the Broncos one-sided (58-21) win against Maricopa (Dec. 14), Brandt led all scorers with 18 points, he blocked 2 shots and grabbed a team-leading 11 rebounds.

Also in that game junior guard Quinten Raethke tallied 14 points and hauled down 8 rebounds. Raethke led the team with 10 assists and hit on 54 percent of his field goal attempts. Angel Avina scored 14 points against Maricopa and hit on 63 percent of his 2-point attempts.

Coast Union was defeated on Dec. 11 at Valley Christian Academy, 61-56 but Brandt led scorers with 17 points and he led in the rebound category as well, bringing down 10. Raethke scored 11 and had 7 rebounds while Avina scored 12 and led the team with 6 assists.

Meanwhile Raethke’s father, John, believes that once this team “has that confidence factor, they’ll be unstoppable.” John’s son Quinten was the Broncos leading scorer last year, averaging 15.5 points per game. Is the 6’ 3” Quinten stronger this year?

“Oh most definitely,” his father enthused. The varsity played in a summer league and in a fall league. “And while football was going on, coach Tim May had the basketball players in the weight room.

“Confidence in the team aspect of the game is the only thing missing,” John Raethke explained. “But I believe they will gain that confidence and win the league championship again.”

Logan Brandt’s father, Carl, said that one important reason for the team jelling so well is that “These boys have been playing together or against each other since their early youth in CYAA.”

That experience and their conditioning leads Carl to believe “they have the talent and maturity to be a championship team. These guys have put in many hours of lifting weights, running and shooting,” Carl Brandt continued.

“It would be nice if more of the townspeople would turn out to watch the home games like they do for football,” he added. “The gym is warm and the crowd is friendly,” a “great way to spend an evening.”

The Broncos overwhelmed Coastal Christian 65-11 at home Tuesday (Dec. 18); Raethke had 14 points, Gehrig Kniffen had 11 and Brandt added 10 points.