South Fork Boys’ Basketball Opens Season with Losses to Mendocino

Junior Scott Coffelt blocking Mendo guard Sen Symonds' shot.

Junior Scott Coffelt blocking Mendo guard Sean Symonds’ shot. Also pictured are  #4 Cooper Scott, #20 Roberto Navarrete, and Cody Wyatt. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork’s Varsity and JV boys’ basketball teams traveled to Mendocino last Friday night to open the 2016-2017 season and lost both games. The varsity lost 65-52 and the JVs lost 41-31.

“We had a little bit of first half jitters,” said head varsity coach Todd Vandenack, “but our offense caught fire in the second half and looked very good.”

The Cubs had to contend with star senior guard Sean Symonds who scored 27 points for Mendocino and 6’4″ sophomore center Cody Call who scored 19, and is a complete player, not just a presence under the basket. “Those two players hurt us,” said Vandenack.

Cooper Scott bringing the ball down court. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Cooper Scott bringing the ball down court. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Down 31-17 at the half the Cubs regrouped and came out shooting three-pointers in the second half, outscoring Mendocino 20-14 in the period. “Mendo’s defense was a sagging man-to-man, so they were giving us the three,” said Vandenack. “We only made 2 ‘threes’ in the first half, and had 8 in the second.”

The Cubs also came out applying the press in the 3rd quarter, causing a lot of Mendocino turnovers. South Fork pulled to within four points of the lead, but right at that moment Mendo sank a 3-point prayer that returned the momentum to the home side.

Forced to foul late in the game to stop the clock, South Fork fell further behind and despite the fact that they outscored Mendo by one point in the second half the Cubs ended up 13 points shy at the final buzzer.

CJ Van Meter getting up high to block Mendo center Cody Call's shot [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

CJ Van Meter getting up high to block Mendo center Cody Call’s shot [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Three Cubs made their varsity debuts in the contest, perhaps contributing to some of the early game jitters, but junior Ryder Pfau, and sophomores Cooper Scott and Cody Wyatt combined to score 27 points and made 8 of the team’s ten 3-pointers.

Vandenack was very pleased with how the offense flowed and the players themselves were excited after the game, feeling very encouraged by what they had learned. Considering that Mendo is expected to win their league, South Fork did very well to come back and make it close in the second half. Defensive intensity on the press in the 3rd quarter helped South Fork’s cause, with junior Roberto Navarrete and Wyatt leading the way. “(Sophomore) CJ Van Meter did very well guarding the big guy in the second half, and (junior) Ryder Pfau scrambled after every loose ball and got a surprising number of rebounds as an outside player.”

Navarrete led all Cub scorers with 16 points (1X3), followed by Wyatt with 11 (3X3), Scott with 10 (3X3), Van Meter with 8 (1X3), Pfau with 6 (2X3), and junior Scott Coffelt made a freethrow.

South Fork        7   10  20  15      52

Mendocino        14  17  14  20      65

The next game on the South Fork schedule is the annual fundraiser “Foundation Game”, a scrimmage to raise money for the North Coast Section’s scholarship fund, to be played against Fort Bragg on the road on Tuesday. However, the game may be rescheduled due to much of Fort Bragg’s team still being involved in football play-offs. Call South Fork at 943-3144 for confirmation.

JVs lose 41-31

Earlier Friday evening, South Fork’s JVs fell to Mendocino 41-31. Head Coach Brett Van Meter was pleased overall with his team’s performance, noting “they are starting to understand their roles and we are going to play some good basketball as the season progresses.”

The JVs are playing the same offense as the varsity team, with movement that allows the team to work around its size disadvantage by staying out of mismatches.

With only two returning players from last year’s squad, junior Chris Arbuthnot and sophomore Ayden Gallagher, the JVs have several players new to high school ball who are adjusting well.

Freshman guard Jayden Paine led all scorers with 18 points. “He played like a star and showed good leadership by making sure his teammates did not become discouraged by their slow (28-13 at halftime) start,” said Van Meter.

Freshman Zeph Barrios played outstanding defense and led the team in rebounds. Freshman Austin Worrel scored 6 points. Freshman Derrick Baldwin was a spark off the bench. Gallagher, Arbuthnot, and freshmen Elijah Roberts and Coby Goodkind “all contributed well and are showing signs of understanding our game plan,” said Van Meter. The team will be joined by freshman Banyan Harding for their next game on Tuesday at Fort Bragg with tip-off at 5:00 pm.



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