Boys basketball previews 2012-13

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Jim Benton
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CASTLE VIEW SABERCATS

Coach - Tory Mansfield

2011-12 record - 4-19

League - Continental

Top players - Parker Lewis, 6-8, jr.; Zach Mattice, 5-10, jr.; Matt Downey, 6-4, jr.

Outlook - Hopes and expectations are high for the Sabercats who return only one senior and will rely on a talented core of juniors. “We have good size and will get the ball inside,” said Mansfield. “We feel we can surprise a lot of teams this year, push being over .500 and, as always, really play hard.”

CHAPARRAL WOLVERINES

Coach - Rob Johnson

2011-12 record - 25-3

League - Continental

Top players - Brandon Malone, 6-0, jr.; Wil Keyser, 6-5, sr.; Mitch Parsons, 6-5, sr.; Chris Moody, 6-5, soph.; Jake Holtzmann, 6-5,

soph.

Outlook - The Wolverines lost a combined total of 49.8 points a game when Cory Calvert, Josh Adams and Reece Elliott graduated but Brandon Malone, Wil Keyser and Mitch Parsons return from last year’s state champion team. Johnson has some talented sophomores he can put in the lineup and Chaparral will have more depth than last season. “We’re excited about this group,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of good leaders and good kids.”

DOUGLAS COUNTY HUSKIES

Coach - Jeff Riley

2011-12 record - 9-14

League - Continental

Top players - Taylour Cavanaugh, 6-6, jr.; Calvin Cooke, 6-3, jr.; Austin Shumake, 6-0, jr.; Ryley Stewart, 6-3 soph.; Tyler Ubben, 6-0, sr.

Outlook - Huskies have a young, but talented group of core players and are counting on some leadership from senior role players. Cooke and Stewart are returning starters who both averaged 13 points a game. Shumake is one of the best defenders in the league and Ubben, the team captain, will provide the necessary leadership. “I believe we will be improved over last year but our non-league schedule is more difficult which hopefully will help us come seeding time,” Riley said.

HIGHLANDS RANCH FALCONS

Coach - Bob Caton

2011-12 record - 23-4

League - Continental

Top players - Ryan Margheim, 6-4, sr.; Isaiah Parros, 6-4, sr.; Zach Braxton, 6-8, jr.; Evan Motlong, 6-2, jr.; Nick Shumpert, 5-10, soph.; Cole Sundlog, 6-2, jr.

Outlook - Margheim, Parros and Braxton have varsity experience and will have to carry the load. It could take a few games before this team jells.

“This is a new team and we are trying to put together the pieces,” said Caton.

LEGEND TITANS

Coach - Kevin Boley

2011-12 record - 19-7

League - Continental

Top players - Jon Cosmann, 6-0, sr.; Blake Truman, 6-8, sr.; Taylor Jenson, 6-7, sr.; Tyler Willis, 6-0, sr.; Joey Sloan, 5-11, sr.; Zach Mihalicz, 6-6, jr.

Outlook - The Titans lost nine seniors off a Sweet 16 team but Legend has an athletic team with a blend of size, scoring and depth to take the next step this season. “We feel we have improved in all areas from last year and we have a chance to challenge this year in the always tough Continental League,” said Boley.

LUTHERAN LIONS

Coach - Ryan Bredow

2011-12 record - 10-3

League - 3A Metro

Top players - James Willis, 6-0, soph.; Josh Clausen, 6-4, soph.; Brenden Edgerley, 6-4, soph; Taylor Murphy, 6-3, sr.; James Thomas, 6-7, sr.

Outlook - Lions are young and athletic. Willis, Clausen and Murphy are football players who saw significant playing time last season on the basketball court. Thomas is a transfer from Highlands Ranch.

“We will be competitive in the always tough 3A Metro League,” Bredow said.

MOUNTAIN VISTA GOLDEN EAGLES

Coach - Bob Wood

2011-12 record - 18-9

League - Continental

Top players - Mitch Carter, 6-2. sr.; Elijah Valdez, 5-10 sr.; Damani Respass 6-0, sr.; Jake Pemberton, 6-3, jr.

Outlook - Golden Eagles return their top two scorers from last year in Carter (14.1) and Valdez (12.0). Mountain Vista’s fast break offense plus the Golden Eagles’ trapping and pressing defense cause problems for teams. “We feel we have a little better talent that last year,” Wood said. “We finished sixth in the league last year and were one of the final eight teams in the state tournament.”

PONDEROSA MUSTANGS

Coach - Mike Gibbs

2011-12 record - 11-13

League - Continental

Top players - Dezmond James, 6-4, sr.; Jonathan Branes, 6-8 sr.; Jared Kelly, 6-5, sr.; Tysen Saunders, 6-1, sr.

Outlook - James was the Mustangs leading scoring last year with a 16.3 scoring average but don’t expect the Mustangs to play a half-court game this season. Ponderosa will push the play and open things up a lot more. “We have a core group of guys that can play multiple positions on the court and I think with having that flexibility we can go where the kids take us,” said Gibbs. “This is the best team chemistry I’ve seen since I’ve been here.” Ponderosa will compete in the 5A Continental League but will be 4A in the state playoffs.

ROCK CANYON JAGUARS

Coach - Kent Grams

2011-12 record - 12-13

League - Continental

Top players - Mitch Lombard, 6-0, soph.; Tyler Garcia, 5-8, soph.; Luke Ewan, 6-6, soph.; Eli Hirsh, 6-1, jr.; Josh Peterson, 6-0, sr.

Outlook - In his first year at the Rock Canyon helm, Grams is putting in a new system and could have three sophomores in the starting lineup. Lombard is the point guard that will make the offense run.

Hirsh has a quick release on his shot and Peterson is a very good defender. “Even though we are young, I feel we have the pieces that will make us competitive in every game,” said Grams.

THUNDERRIDGE GRIZZLIES

Coach - Joe Ortiz

2011-12 record - 20-6

League - Continental

Top players - None reported

Outlook - ThunderRidge has won 19 or more games in five of the past seven seasons. Last year the Grizzlies made it into the state quarterfinals before losing a two-point decision to Arapahoe.

VALOR CHRISTIAN EAGLES

Coach - Ronnie DeGray

2011-12 record - 19-4

League - Independent

Top players - Chase Foster, 6-4, jr.; Christian McCaffrey, 5-11, jr.; Marcus Wilson, 6-0, jr.; Garrett Baggett, 5-10, jr.

Outlook - Valor Christian reached the Final Four a year ago, and according to new coach Ronnie DeGray, they have some unfinished business to attend to this season. The Eagles lost 70-59 to eventual champion Lewis-Palmer in the semifinals. Foster was a second team All-State selection a year ago and McCaffrey is one of the best athletes in the state. Baggett can knock it down while Wilson is a defensive stopper. The Eagles should be a factor again.