Baler hoop ready

David Kaplansky, head boys basketball coach at Hollister High,
learned about being patient after his Balers finished a game short
of qualifying for the Central Coast Section playoffs a year ago
when they went 12-14 overall and 5-8 in the Monterey Bay
League.
David Kaplansky, head boys basketball coach at Hollister High, learned about being patient after his Balers finished a game short of qualifying for the Central Coast Section playoffs a year ago when they went 12-14 overall and 5-8 in the Monterey Bay League.

“I had such good success my first two years at the junior varsity level, it was hard for me to adjust when we struggled at the start of the year,” said Kaplansky. “But we won four out of five to end the season and finished strong.”

Hollister kicks off the 2002-03 skein Wednesday night vs. Greenfield at Mattson Gym at 7 p.m.

Kaplansky’s Balers should be improved this season. The main problem is, so is the quality of the Tri-County Athletic League. Live Oak may be the tallest team in the section with a 6-foot-11 transfer from Poland joining 6-7 and 6-6 on the forecourt. North Salinas returns Ronnie Drummer and the behemoth Carl Nicks, while Salinas returns its top three players from last season. Palma is Palma.

“We hope to be competitive in league and make it to the Central Coast Section playoffs,” said Kaplansky. “We’re going to take them one game at a time, though.”

The Balers need to make hay, so to speak, in four preseason tournaments – Overfelt (SJ) Dec. 4-6, Independence (SJ) Dec. 11-13, Bob Hagen (Gilroy) Dec. 19-21 and North Salinas Dec. 26-28.

“It’s important we do well in the preseason because we need to build up confidence,” said Kaplansky. “I’m emphasizing the three D’s – defense, discipline and dedication.”

The Balers are spending a lot of time in the weight room, which could also play a role in their success this season. They have some height, but not much muscle.

“We don’t have any returning all-leaguers,” said Kaplansky. “We’re young still, but we have some guys who can play. We need to stay focused and come together.”

Here’s a breakdown of Baler personnel for the upcoming season with comments from Kaplansky:

Point guard-Jeff Fajardo (Sr.) One of three captains for the Balers. Fajardo had a lot of game experience last season and is savvy with good defensive skills. Backup-Eric Davis (So.) Earned raves on the Baler freshman team last year. Slick ballhandler. “Jeff will pass the torch to Eric next season.”

Off guard-Broc Sondgroth (Sr.) Another captain. “He’s a good role model for the younger players. He has great work ethic and is aggressive defensively. He’s a good perimeter player.” Backup-Mike Moiso (Jr.) “He can handle the ball and run the floor.”

Small forward-Kyle Sharp (So.) A great perimeter shooter at 6-6. “The better he shoots the ball from outside, it will enable him to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket.” Backup-Gilbert Rubio (Sr.) “He plays good defense and gives us a spark off the bench.”

Power forward-Danny Brooks (Sr.) The final captain. Can high jump 6-4, which is also his height. “He plays non-stop and helps our offensive transition because he’ll be able to beat his man up the floor. He can play in the post, too.” Backup-Kevin Zanella (Jr.) “He can shoot the ball and gives another option.”

Center-Anthony Butler (Jr.) Stands 6-4, but plays bigger than that. Can clear space inside. “His size clogs up the middle for us.” Backup-Jason Sims (So.) Another 6-4 player, who just needs varsity experience.

A few other players off the bench include guard Thomas Fernandez, who sat out last year to concentrate on track and field; Forward Chris Stephens, a rugged rebounder just out from football; Guard Andrew Leon, a sharpshooter up from the JV’s.

“I keep 15 players because these are good kids and I want to give them the opportunity to do something positive,” said Kaplansky. “I wish I could keep 25.”

The Balers open up TCAL play at home on Jan. 18 vs. very tall Live Oak. The league season consists of 10 games as the Balers will play each team twice, home and away.

“We have a good group of young players,” said Sharp, who could be the best of the lot. “We have guys off the bench who play well. We have a lot better chemistry than last year. We just need to come together as a team.”

Hollister High 2002-03 Boys Basketball Schedule

Preseason

Nov. 27 – Greenfield

Dec. 4-6 – at Overfelt Tourn.

Dec. 11-13 – at Ind. Tourn.

Dec. 17 – R.L. Stevenson

Dec. 19-21 – at Bob Hagen Tourn.

Dec. 23 – at Soledad

Dec. 26-28 – at N. Salinas Tourn.

Jan. 3 – Monterey

Jan. 10 – Seaside

Tri-County Athletic League

Jan. 18 – Live Oak

Jan. 22 – at Gilroy

Jan. 28 – at North Salinas

Jan. 30 – Salinas

Feb. 4 – at Palma

Feb. 6 – at Live Oak

Feb. 12 – Gilroy

Feb. 14 – North Salinas

Feb. 19 – at Salinas

Feb. 21 – Palma

All games start at 7 p.m. except for some tournament games

Leave your comments