Point Loma freshman Gabe Harrison brings the ball up court during a league game against Mira Mesa last week. He hit a three-point buzzer-beater at the end of an overtime period to give his team a 67-64 victory. SCOTT HOPKINS / BEACON
Success in coaching often leads to increases in strength of schedule, upgrades to tougher leagues and CIF divisions.
Last year young Josh Aros, then 28, was hired to lead the Pointer basketball program after spending 10 years being mentored by previous coaches. And Aros proved his readiness, leading a young and inexperienced CIF Div. III team to a 19-8 overall record to go with a 7-3 Central League mark, good for second place.
As a reward for his success, Aros saw his team moved to the higher level Eastern League and also elevated to CIF Div. II.
Does that bother Aros?
"We're in a new league and I see us finishing towards the top," Aros said after a rigorous practice last week. "When we play our basketball we can play with the best."
Aros offered as evidence his team's recent tournament game against Mission Bay, the county's No. 1 team. "We were only down by four points going into the fourth quarter," Aros recalled. "And there were times in the game when we were up by four."
In early league play, the Pointers dropped a home game against top-rated Christian by 10 points, but Aros isn't backing down on his team's chances as they gain more experience.
"We have lots of young players, lots of new kids who need more minutes, Aros explained, "and that's something we're trying to iron out. It's a work in progress and I think towards the second half of league play and towards the playoffs we'll get straightened out and be a team to be reckoned with."
Aros listed his team's strengths as working the ball into the post, transition play bringing the ball up court and using his team's size to get the ball close to the basket.
"We have five seniors coming back," Aros said. "Kyle Johnson, a 6-foot 6-inches tall guard who has received an offer from Cal State Monterrey Bay. We'll be leaning on him." Johnson, who will serve as team captain, scored 11.6 points per game and led the team with 12.8 rebounds per game.
Also back are Grayson Kelle (6-foot 4-inches tall, 1.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg), Carlos Torres (6-foot 7-inches tall, 7.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg), Bryce Morris (6-foot 4-inches tall, 2.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Jordan Flores (6-foot 4-inches tall, 3.0 rpg).
"Kelle had a lot of minutes, we counted on Torres as a big man in the post and for rebounds and Morris and Flores are senior leaders who are getting more minutes and doing a lot for our team now," Aros said.
Also returning is sophomore Tyler Morris (6-foot 6-inches tall, 2.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg) "who started a lot of our games last year," Aros noted, and juniors JL Skinner (6-foot 4-inches tall, 1.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg) "who is playing a lot more minutes this year and doing a lot of good things on offense and defense," and Riley Wagstaff (6-feet tall, 3.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg).
New Pointers this year include freshmen Trent Bell (5-foot 9-inches tall, 8.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg), Gabe Harrison (6-feet tall, 6.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Devyn Sanchez (6-foot 3-inches tall, 0.5 rpg), sophomore Jakob Tonnear-DiCarlo (5-foot 7-inches tall, 1.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg) and juniors Wes Windmiller (6-foot 1-inch tall 1.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg), Dane Warlaumont (6-foot 2-inches tall, 1.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg) and Seamus Mulvaney (6-foot 1-inch tall, 1.4 ppg, 0.6 rpg).
- Other members of the Eastern League besides Christian include Morse, Serra, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch and Pointer rival Coronado.
- Efforts have begun to revive Lee Trepanier Gym, the Pointers' home court. New, brighter lighting has been installed. Wood panels along walls has been refinished and reports are that the entire gym is due to receive new seating to replace the current/original wooden set that is about 65 years old.