The Coast Union boys participated in the Santa Maria Invitational basketball tournament over the holidays, but their 1-2 record during the event — a 60-51 win over Templeton, a 58-51 loss to Lindsay 58-51 and a nail-biting 44-43 loss to Santa Maria — is only part of the story.
Coast Union took just six players to Santa Maria. There are seven on the varsity roster, but one key player was on a family holiday vacation, reducing the total to six.
Because five players are on the court at any given time, it’s rare to enter a basketball game with just one reserve is rare, but moreover, to be successful with just one reserve requires: a) talented, fit, intelligent, coachable players; b) a style of play that allows the team to “play strong,” in head coach Tim May’s words; and c) student athletes who will buy into the coach’s system.
“They have really bought into the style of play that we have to play in order to be successful at both ends,” May explained. On defense, the players are learning how to play “on a string,” May pointed out.
That is, when one Bronco moves, all four need to move, as well. Also on defense, the Broncos are gearing up to allow just one shot per possession for the opposing team. When May says his team needs to “play strong,” that has nothing to do with physical strength; in fact the strongest player on the floor might be short on height and lean when it comes to muscle.
Playing strong means “reinforcing a position” which is called “squaring up” or offering opponents a “triple threat.” That is, when a Bronco has the ball in the opponent’s court he has the option of squaring his shoulders to the basket. Hence, once squared up, he has the triple-threat option of shooting, passing or dribbling.
This is particularly pivotal when the Broncos face a taller team, May continued. In addition, his seven-member team is “making great strides” in ball-handling.
He doesn’t want a player to be dribbling around and holding the ball for any significant amount of time. He wants the ball to “pop” from one player to another.
This week is the opening of the Coast Valley League; the Broncos play Valley Christian Academy at 6:30 p.m. Friday, following the girls’ game at 5 p.m. Friday’s game marks the halfway point in the season, and May — in his 13th year of coaching at Coast Union — is urging the team to “get back to the fundamentals” and “have the desire to get better.
“Don’t rest on anything we have done or were unable to do at this point,” he said. “Let’s get better at every facet of the game.”
For those who can’t make it out to the Coast Union gym Friday, the boys game can be heard live on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams live on www.ktea-fm.com.
With the Coast Union girls soccer squad “plagued with injuries,” according to head coach Jack Mettier, it was somewhat fortuitous that the Morro Bay soccer tournament was canceled due to a lack of team participation over New Year’s weekend.
The cancellation allowed Mettier’s team to rest and get ready for four games this week, including a game Tuesday at McFarland.
Coming into this week, Martha Gomez is the team’s leading scorer, with “Karina Mendoza and Diana Cisneros close behind” Gomez, Mettier said. And Cynthia Cadena has been doing “great work” defending Coast Union’s goal, he added.
This report is special to The Cambrian.