Warriors making up ground

What Central boys lack in experience, they make up for with athleticism, competitiveness

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Central High School’s Connor Whaley eyes the basket as he goes up, only to have his shot blocked by teammate Matt Champain during practice at the school.



QUICKREAD

Coach Phil Cain’s three wishes

for Central’s season

• Improve every week

• Play hard every night

• Shoot above 70 percent from the free-throw line as a teamCentral Boys at a glance

Coach: Phil Cain, 6th season

Last season: 20-5, 8-2 SWL. Lost in second round to Arapahoe 77-58.

Returning leading scorer: Josh Wells, 3.9 ppg

First game: Dec. 3 vs. Horizon, 6:45 p.m.



There was no question the Central High School boys basketball team had big plans last season. With nine seniors on the team, the Warriors were thinking playoffs or bust. Central did just that, reaching the second round of the state playoffs before losing to Arapahoe.

“I think last year gave us the momentum that we needed,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We had been playing .500 basketball, and last year was a big confidence booster.”

With such a senior-laden roster, it puts the Warriors in a situation this season with only two players with significant varsity experience. Post player Josh Wells and guard Vandon Sanchez are back to provide leadership, but will have to take a larger scoring role — both averaged less than four points per game last season. The Warriors should get a boost from three seniors who didn’t play last season: Holden Reed, Spencer Hicks and Ben Garcia.

“We have some catch-up time with those guys, but it makes us more athletic and more physical,” Cain said. “I hope it brings some extra excitement and hopefully once we get caught up, we’ll be a very competitive group.”

Those three, in addition to guard Taylor Sanchez, should create several scoring threats for the Warriors. Taylor Sanchez dressed for the varsity team last season as a freshman, but got most of his playing time on the junior varsity team.

This season, he will take on a much larger role.

“He’s our point guard, and he reads the floor well,” Cain said. “We worked hard with him last year to be in this position to step in and take Clay (Kame’s) spot.”

Taylor will team with his brother, Vandon, in the backcourt, and Cain said the Sanchez brothers can be special.

“I’m excited to watch the two brothers,” Cain said. “Vandon is super-quick, Taylor has great basketball savvy, so hopefully we can cause havoc in our press with those two.”


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