Varsity Boys Earn Winning Record at Season Halfway Mark
Now with the team on a well-deserved break from school as well as basketball, we caught up with head coach Todd Vandenack and took stock of how the squad is progressing now that most of non-league is behind them.
Having seen a considerable number of fellow Division 6 schools over the past two weeks, Vandenack says, “We can play with anybody and the field is wide open,” as to who’s going to have success.
“We are really gelling well with our system,” says Vandenack. The system the team is employing is becoming more effective as the players learn their roles and improve on their spacing and timing. A couple players are stepping up to provide leadership and motivation and the total Cub package is gaining momentum.
“When we’re well disciplined we’ve been getting more rebounds and turning the ball over less,” said Vandenack. He’d like to take even better care of the basketball and will continue to drill on fundamentals once the team returns to practice next week to prepare for the second half of the season.
Senior Justin Michael is a big part of the team’s upswing. “Justin is more and more of a factor,” said Vandenack of his post player. “He’s getting more confidence in his shot and is getting a lot of rebounds for us, plus he’s able to keep up his intensity for longer periods on the floor.” In the home win against Round Valley last Monday night Michael was top scorer for the Cubs with 16 points, a fact his coach wisely pointed out was going to gain him a little more attention from future opponents.
Also playing big for South Fork is junior Roberto Navarrete. “He’s one of the guys who really takes it seriously,” said Vandenack. Navarrete put in countless hours in the gym during the off-season and is one the teams top motivators on and off the court.
Sophomore CJ Van Meter shows maturity beyond his years according to Vandenack. “CJ is our most consistent player and is a top rebounder. He’s good at directing the defense,” said Vandenack, who puts him in a defensive position that enables him to read the floor and conduct traffic.
Junior Scott Coffelt is shooting with more confidence, and sophomore Cody Wyatt has broken out of a slump and is beginning to find his shot again. Juniors Javier Alatorre and Ryder Pfau and sophomore Cooper Scott play with consistent intensity. “All the guys are contributing great minutes and they really leave it all out there every game,” said Vandenack.Out of the many Division 6 schools the Cubs have played or whose records Vandenack has studied thus far, he sees no clear dominant force who will run away with the championship among the North Coast Section’s small school teams. “It seems that anyone can beat anyone on any given night,” noting that, as he mentioned at the beginning of the season, whoever is peaking at the right time toward the end of the season is going to be successful.
As for South Fork’s chances in Humboldt Del Norte Little Four Conference play, Vandenack knows that “if we execute the way we know how, our chances are as good as anyone’s.” He’s seen Hoopa and St. Bernard’s play and knows that Ferndale fell to Mendocino in recent days, bolstering his confidence that Cubs are capable of making a statement in league play.
To briefly recap the last nine contests:
At Potter Valley Friday 12/16 Cubs dominated, winning 64-23
At Rio Lindo Wednesday 12/14, the Cubs fell 54-40. Vandenack feels Rio Lindo is the team most likely to win the NCS Division 6 championship. “They have a couple guys who are already signed to go to the next level and they are a very good team,” he said. He added that the Cubs had two very poor shotting periods in the game and that other than that they had moments of playing with Rio Lindo, but lacked consistency.
On Monday 12/12 the cubs hosted Round Valley and achieved their highest score so far in the season, winning 72-62, avenging a devastating 25-point loss to Round Valley in Covelo a week earlier. A Round valley player who scored 48 points against the cubs in Covelo was held to just 10 on the South Fork floor.
Over the previous weekend, South Fork played in the Gene Duffy holiday Classic Tournament in Calistoga, a huge event with pool play that after three wins landed the VCubs in the Silver Championship game, which they won 57-38 after beating Roseland Collegiate Prep 53-42, Summerfiled Waldorf 52-46 in overtime, and host Calistoga 58-43.
Earlier in the week, the Cubs had crushed Potter Valley at home 73-36, the day after falling to Round Valley by 25 points in Covelo.
Up next for the Cubs is the last non-conference game of the season at Willits on December 30th, tip-off at 5:30.