I’ve seen three straight games of the Pleasant Valley High boys basketball team, and it’s about to be four with Tuesday’s home game against Enterprise. With the Vikings the host team of the PV tournament, they were the focus each day as long as they kept winning, so I saw quite a bit of them. Hope to have a Chico version sometime soon.
Here’s some observations that won’t fit in a 140-character limit on Twitter, going down the list of players numerically.
No. 1 Joe Abdulmasih is a tough guard and earned some minutes as a reserve and flourished in them even getting an all-tournament selection for his efforts. He has no fear it seems in mixing it up underneath the basket. It doesn’t matter that he’s a guard. If there’s a rebound to be had, he’s going to try to get it.
While Matt Urrutia (No. 2) saw fewer minutes than Abdulmasih, he too showed some grit. Both are juniors coming off the bench. That shows well now and next season for the Vikings.
Spencer Hammer (3) produced some quality minutes and provided an early scoring punch at times.
Jerry Migasi (4) is still sitting out after transferring from Chico. Coach Tim Keating has said he’s a versatile player who can play multiple positions and play each of them well. It’ll be interesting to see where he fits into the lineup and/or rotation when he can start playing in early January.
Tyler Collier (5) has shown flashes of being the confident, outside shooter the Vikings would like to stretch the defense out instead of sagging in to stop Javonne McClellan. But after not playing basketball for a year so he could focus on his golf game, the future Oregon State athlete is finding his touch.
Drew Minkler (21) saw precious few minutes, but made a 3 and is another junior guard for the Vikings.
Tyler Schnerringer (22) is trying to get more minutes as a forward, and while he’s not overly big, the senior forward makes up for it in his activity.
Zac Suttles (24): The senior forward made his senior debut Friday after ankle injuries from football kept him out. He should provide another forward for coach Keating to mix and match. Suttles’ game looked a little rusty and he was a bit overeager as he seemed to have rushed some shots, but once he can get back in the flow he’ll be a key contributor.
Wes Kokal (25): The junior swingman made two big 3-pointers against Clovis North in Friday’s semifinal victory. Those two shots don’t fall then Clovis’ momentum likely would have continued in that third quarter, and the Vikings might not have been able to stay afloat among Clovis’ pressing defense.
Cale Crawford (31): The junior saw some minutes against Downey on Thursday, but he’s getting up to varsity speed. Still, he’s among the other juniors that show the Vikings have a deep, deep bench.
Javonne McClellan (32): Simply put, when he’s playing well, the Vikings are playing well. The big man in the middle has the chance to dominate most other section opponents in the middle. Sure he’s 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6, but he also has broad shoulders and a physical frame that can block out less physical adversaries. He had eight points in the third quarter against Chico, and the Panthers had to switch to a 2-3 zone and sometimes doubled him from then on. Well that is, until the Vikings started hitting perimeter shots. If they can get that combo (McClellan in the middle and Collier, Abdulmasih, Hammer, etc, shooting 3s) working together the majority of the time, they will be a tough out for anybody.
Jake Gildea (33): Honestly, didn’t get much of a look at the junior reserve forward. Though when I talked with coach Keating for the team’s preview that I did, Keating talked about how competitive the reserves were, both the players who made the team and those who were tough to cut. This junior can bide his time by continuing to work hard and getting better.
Brandt Hughes (34): The lone sophomore on the team is actually listed as a forward/point guard. That’s interesting in of itself. But he’s shown the knack to have a varied offensive game. He could provide a solid complement to McClellan inside with 2-3 shooters on the outside at times.
Chad Olsen (35): The senior is Mr. Energy off the bench. Everything is 100% with him. It’s almost like he knows the clock is ticking on his Pleasant Valley athletic career and he’s not about to waste any of it. He already has the scholarship to Fresno State in football in hand, but he’s not slowing down or playing careful. He’s going after rebounds and providing plenty of hustle, subbing in for McClellan usually.
Curious to see how the Vikings respond after what had to have been a disappointing loss to Chico on Saturday in the Vikings’ own tournament. Tonight, the Hornets provide an interesting opponent. Enterprise is still depleted with several of its rotation players still in football season after the school’s victory in the NorCal playoff game. The Hornets are vying for a state title on Saturday down in Carson. Because of all those players gone, the team is 3-3 but still has reigning Northern Section MVP Kaelan Crisosto on it.
Hope to see you out there. And later on, I’ll have a write up on Wednesday’s Orland at Chico dual meet, which I’ll be covering as well.