2016-2017 South Fork Varsity Boys Basketball Preview

Roberto Navarrete, playing varsity last year as a sophomore, will be a key player this season for the Cubs [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Roberto Navarrete, playing varsity last year as a sophomore, will be a key player this season for the Cubs [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork’s varsity boys’ basketball team is hard at work preparing for its opening game this Friday night in Mendocino. The 12-man roster will include four seniors, five juniors and three sophomores, many of whom have been putting in time in the off season to make the 2016-2017 Cubs a contender not only in the Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Conference but in the North Coast Section’s post season tournament.

New head coach Todd Vandenack talking to the team during a timeout last season [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

New head coach Todd Vandenack talking to the team during a timeout last season [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

New head coach Todd Vandenack has been working with many of these players for at least three years. He has been assisting outgoing head coach Jake Mitchell for the past four seasons and his calm and steady demeanor will help the team share in his long view of steady improvement throughout the season, aiming to peak right when it’s most important, down the stretch in preparation for the play-offs.

The team’s four seniors are Justin Michael, Javier Alatorre, Jorge Avilez and Levi Humphrey. Michael has played basketball all four years and will be coming off the bench to serve as the team’s only pure center. Alatorre will also be a spark off the bench, and with his size can play both in the paint and on the perimeter. Humphrey and Avilez have not played since their freshman year, and are working hard to catch up and be valuable contributors.

Senior Justin Michael will serve as the team's only pure center, shown here in a game from last season. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Senior Justin Michael will serve as the team’s only pure center, shown here in a game from last season. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

The juniors include Roberto Navarrete, Scott Coffelt, Ryder Pfau, John Henry Davis, and Jesseey Rolff.

Vandenack calls Navarrete “the hardest working player on the team,” and notes that he often stays late in the gym, working on his skills. He will start and play some guard and some forward.

Junior Ryder Pfau, shown as a JV player last season will play point guard this year for the Cubs. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Junior Ryder Pfau, shown as a JV player last season will play point guard this year for the Cubs. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Coffelt, coming off a stellar football season, will also start and play a little guard and little forward. “Scott’s a good outside shooter and a good defender. He took a lot of charges last year.” Coffelt played varsity last year as a sophomore.

Pfau will be starting and sharing point guard duties, and Vandenack calls him “the calmest, most level-headed guy we have,” a critical asset in the chief ball-handler.

Davis is “the fastest guy on the court” according to Vandenack and is a tough defender with a lot of energy. He will come off the bench.

Rolff is a good shooter, and will play forward off the bench.

The sophomores are CJ Van Meter, Cody Wyatt, and Cooper Scott.

Van Meter was pulled up to varsity last season as a freshman and performed very well. He will start on this year’s team. Considered by his coach and teammates to be one of the team’s smartest players, he is a good decision maker with a very high basketball IQ. He is also versatile and can play anywhere on the floor.

Wyatt is one of the best shooters on the team and will get some starts. He also has good defensive skills. He was a standout on last year’s JV team.

Scott will be playing at point guard along with Pfau and will be a starter. He put in a lot of work during the off season to gain the valuable experience necessary to play the point. “He’s a great energy player,” said Vandenack.

Sophomore Cooper Scott, shown in a JV game last season, will share point guard duties on this year's varsity Cubs [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Sophomore Cooper Scott, shown in a JV game last season, will share point guard duties on this year’s varsity Cubs [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

The team will be employing a new system of offense and Vandenack has organized his high school staff, in coordination with the junior high and youth leagues to all play under one cohesive system starting in the 5th grade. “Players won’t have to learn a new system every year and we save a lot of time in practice by having continuity across the program.”

Vandenack brings not only his four years of experience assistant-coaching at South Fork, but he also played his first three years of high school ball as a Cub. He transferred to Chowchilla in central California his senior year and helped lead that team to an undefeated season. He has remained a dedicated member of the local basketball community his entire adult life.

CJ Van Meter playing as a freshman last year on varsity will bring smarts and versatility to this year's team [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

CJ Van Meter playing as a freshman last year on varsity will bring smarts and versatility to this year’s team [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

One unusual challenge for the team this year will be the construction project in the South Fork gymnasium. The team will only be hosting 7 times this season, so Vandenack is hoping for as much crowd support as he can get on those occasions. The first home game for the Cubs will be on Tuesday, December 6, at 7:30 against Potter Valley.

 

 

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