Continuing our series of boys basketball previews. The Southeast Yosemite League looks like it could come down to Garces and East again, and if it does, it'll be a battle of Garces' talented backcourt against East's big and athletic front line. Which can exert their will more? At the Lloyd Williams tournament last week, the Rams beat down East by 20 in Sheldon Croney's return to action.
SOUTHEAST YOSEMITE LEAGUE
t1. East 23 (3)
t1. Garces 23 (3)
3. Highland 16
4. Tehachapi 13
5. North 10
6. Foothill 5
(Coaches were asked between Dec. 5-11 to rank their league but were not allowed to rank their own team. Tallying was done on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.)
Notes: Voting was done before Garces beat East 74-54 in the fifth-place game of the Lloyd Williams tournament. ... That was the first game back for Rams guard Sheldon Croney, who had just finished football season. He averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game as a freshman in 2011-12. ... As a whole, the area doesn’t lack for strong guards but seems to be bereft of dominant big men. The opposite is true at East, where the Blades will lean on 6-foot-4 forward Tevin Beasley and 6-foot-8 swat machine Fatai Eke while a very green backcourt catches up to speed. ... East beat Garces three times last year, but one game went to overtime and the average margin of victory was less than 5 points. ... Highland is a scrappy defensive team that lost leading scorer Caleb Richmond and will rely on a score-by-committee offense, led by seniors Tre Ayers and Derrick Duff. ... The services of Californian Player of the Year Cory Lange will surely be missed by Tehachapi in its first year in the SEYL. But Chris Olofson’s bunch lost more than that: The Warriors return just one player (guard Dalton Scaggs) who played more than four games a year ago. ... Same goes at North, where the Stars are hoping senior Brandon Baker can make up for the scoring punch provided last year by since-graduate Darryle Baker, Taran Davis and Chigora Jones. ... Destin Penn has star potential for undersized Foothill, but the Trojans have been plagued by 12.5 turnovers per game in a 1-5 start.
Quotable: “I would think Garces has to be favored with those two guards they have over there and the other kids that know their roles real well.” — East coach Milt Henderson
South Sequoia League boys
(Girls previews coming next week)