Following a 21-8 season last year, where they won a CCS championship, the boys basketball team hopes to win CCS again, giving them a run in the state championship according to junior Jack Elarde.
To ensure this title, Elarde says the team is refining their skills off the ball. Last year this was a weak point for the team.
“The team is really working on our defense and rebounding to prepare for this season,” Elarde said.
Because it hasa lot of new players junior Andrew Li said matching of playstyles has been something the team needs to work on.
“One of our many challenges is building chemistry within the team,” Li said. “We have many new players that have not played with the varsity players and it is important for everybody to play well with each other.”
Li said the team hopes to strengthen teamwork in the preseason.
“We are preparing for the upcoming season by focusing on team drills so we can build our chemistry,” Li said.
Following the loss of seniors, Elarde said he is concerned that not all positions will be adequately filled.
“Some challenges this season will be size (of the players) because we only have a few guys that are able to play the center position,” Elarde said.
Despite these hardships, Elarde said the team is ready to face the tough competition.
“I’m most excited to play against good competition and grow as a player,” Elarde said.
Senior Will DeAndre said is also hopeful for this season. With its pool of talented players and it’s hard work, he said he thinks the team will be successful.
“I’m really excited for this season because I know that our team has the potential to be really good,” DeAndre said. “We hope to go undefeated in league and make a deep run in the state tournament.”
According to Li, a big part of the success of the team is the coaching staff which he said pushes the players to be their best and work as a team. This year there is a new head coach, Jeff LaMere.
“I think the Paly team is special because of the experience of the coaching staff as they have won state championships before,” Li said.
Elarde agrees and says LaMere inspires the team to give it their all.
“I like my coach because he really pushes us to work hard as a team but also as individuals and helps us become the best players we can be,” Elarde said.
The coaching staff also gets the team excited for games which contributes to their success Li said.
“I like how our coach is willing to yell and energize the whole team,” Li said. “We are often quiet, and it’s very uplifting for someone to be able to bring more energy to practice or the game”
DeAndre said he shares this excitement about the new staff and said they bring experience to the team.
“I’m really excited to play under coach LaMere because of his passion and knowledge for the game of basketball,” DeAndre said. “Coach is always willing to put in the extra effort to make us better and gives us limitless learning opportunities.”
And Elarde said he predicts the team is bound for success.
“I think our team will do pretty well this season because we play very team orientated basketball and work well together,” Elarde said.
Li has his sights set for something bigger. He said he wants to win it all.
Li said, “We have a long way to go but our end goal is to bring back a state championship.”