League play for boys basketball began this week, so here’s a look at teams from around the county to see who will contend for titles in the PAC 8 and Los Padres leagues.
Last Season: 25-7, 13-1 PAC 8; PAC 8 Champs; Runner-up in Division 4AA; Lost in Round 2 of Division IV playoffs
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So Far: 7-7, 2-0 PAC 8
Key Departures: Quinton Adlesh (County Player of the Year), Brandon Jones
Players to Watch: Matthew Blaney (Sr., G), Kyle Stewart (Jr., F)
X Factor: Kyle Colvin (So., G)
League Outlook: If preseason is any indication, Mission Prep probably won’t go 13-1 again. But the Royals will be right in the mix. They have shooters all over the court and like to use their athleticism to get up and down the floor. Behind
St. Joseph, Mission Prep is probably the best team talent-wise from top to bottom.
Last Season: 14-14, 9-5 PAC 8; Lost in first round of 2AA playoffs
So Far: 9-6, 1-1 PAC 8
Key Departures: Jack Hogeboom, Joel Bishop (Injury), Cobe Williams
Players to Watch: Bradley Mickey (Sr., G), Patrick Angle (Jr., G),
X Factor: A.J. Panetta (So., PG)
League Outlook: Arroyo Grande is one of the younger and smaller teams in the PAC 8 and regularly camps four guards outside the 3-point line. When the Eagles get hot from the outside and limit turnovers, they can hang with just about anyone in the league. The problem will be dealing with the bigger forwards and centers. Arroyo Grande got a 58-55 win over San Luis Obispo on Friday night.
San Luis Obispo
Last Season: 9-19, 2-12 PAC 8; Missed playoffs
So Far: 10-6, 1-1 PAC 8
Key Departures: Chase Braun, Sam Santos
Players to Watch: Alex Chai (Sr., G/F), Nick Attala (Sr., F)
X Factor: Seth Moore (Jr., PG)
League Outlook: It’s already been a turnaround season for the Tigers. Seniors Nick Attala and Alex Chai have increased their roles on the offensive end and will have SLO in the mix for the
No. 2-5 spot.
Last Season: 11-15, 5-9 PAC 8; Lost in first round of 4AA playoffs
Key Departures: Ryan O’Connell, Taylor Kim
So Far: 8-5, 0-2 PAC 8
Players to Watch: Elijah Cooks (Jr., G/F), Gabe Perry (Sr., F)
X Factor: Marco Rojas (Jr., PG)
League Outlook: With an interesting mix of size and shooting, and a deep bench, the Greyhounds are looking like they could see a big improvement in last season’s record. Much of that will depend of the continued development of Cooks and 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Kyler Warren. The Greyhounds first two losses came against Mission Prep and St. Joseph, the two top teams in the PAC 8.
Last Season: 10-16, 5-9 PAC 8; Lost in first round of Division 3A playoffs
So Far: 4-9, 0-2 PAC 8
Key Departures: Josh Oliver, Jonathan Baldwin, Matt Keller (Injury)
Players to Watch: Ty Jones (Sr., G), Dante Coletta (So., C)
X Factor: Trevor Weiger (Sr., G)
League Outlook: Paso Robles has struggled to find consistency of the offensive end this season, failing to crack 40 points in its first two PAC 8 games. The Bearcats will miss the senior leadership and big body of Keller — who is likely out for the season with an injury — and struggle against the high-powered offenses of the league.
Rest of the league
The PAC 8 is St. Joseph’s (13-2, 2-0 PAC 8) to lose. Junior guard Jojo Walker, an early favorite to win PAC 8 player of the year, is averaging around 20 points per game and more than five assists per game, and teammate Gabrys Sadaunykas is putting up 16 points and nearly seven rebounds. The Knights are averaging an impressive 71 points per game, and they blew out Atascadero and Paso Robles to open league play. Righetti (6-8, 1-1 PAC 8) is off to a slow start without Cameron Walker — who now plays at Stanford — after finishing a game behind Mission Prep for last year’s PAC 8 title. Former Righetti standout Jeremiah Rivas is the Warriors new head coach — so some growing pains are expected — but with players like Jordan Allen, expect the Warriors to be in the No. 2-5 range. Pioneer Valley (4-9, 1-1 PAC 8) struggled early, but a big win against Righetti on Friday could be what gets the Panthers going.
Los Padres league
Last Season: 11-16, 8-6 Los Padres; Lost in first round of 4AA playoffs
So Far: 5-13, 2-2 Los Padres
Key Departures: Luke Nickolson, Freddy Ruiz
Players to Watch: Mason Gallegos (Sr. G), Noah Gibbons (Jr., F)
X Factor: Luke Willenius (Jr., F)
League Outlook: Mason Gallegos can get hot, as evidenced by his 24-point performance in a win over Morro Bay on Thursday. But outside of him, Nipomo will need to do a better job getting consistent scoring. Last season’s head coach Russ Edwards is still with the team, but Daniel Hyun now sits on the end of the bench. If Gibbons and Willenius — or someone else — can step up, then Nipomo can make some noise.
Last Season: 6-16, 2-12 Los Padres; Missed playoffs
So Far: 3-9, 0-2 Los Padres
Key Departures: Aidan Sarbeck, Christian Hauser
Players to Watch: Matteo D’Alfonso (Sr., F), Robby Kaiser (Sr., PG)
X Factor: Blake VandeHoef (Sr., SG)
League Outlook: Templeton has seven seniors, including D’Alfonso, who is leading the team with about 15 points per game, and Kaiser and VandeHoef, who average about 11. Outside of the big three, there has been a drop off in production so far this season. They sorely miss the 19 points per game provided by Sarbeck last season.
Last Season: 5-20, 1-13 Los Padres; Missed playoffs
Key Departures: Diego Rivera
This Season: 9-8, 0-4 Los Padres
Players to Watch: Spencer Cecil (Jr., F), Marjoe DeLaCruz (Sr., PG), Noah Agapay (Jr., F)
League Outlook: Cecil has emerged as Morro Bay’s go-to player and is averaging more than 17 points and just under nine rebounds per game this season. DeLaCruz can get hot from three-point range. The Pirates racked up some wins early in the preseason and already surpassed last year’s win total by four; but with a 44 points-per-game average, it will be tough to compete with the upper level of Los Padres League teams.
Rest of the league
Santa Barbara County teams have a stranglehold on the top the the Los Padres League so far. Cabrillo (14-3, 4-0 Los Padres) is looking like it wants to win its fifth straight title. The Conqs are off to a 12-3 start and are 4-0 in the LPL. Sophomore Leandrew Knight and senior Reshawn Strawder have already led Cabrillo to a 36-point win over Nipomo and a
33-point win over Morro Bay and a 20-point win over Lompoc. Santa Maria (11-7, 3-1 Los Padres), Lompoc (5-5, 3-1 Los Padres) — with two-sport star Torrey Sims — and Santa Ynez (7-1, 3-1 Los Padres) also figure to be in the top-four. Orcutt Academy is 2-10 overall and 0-4 in league play.