The Bakersfield Christian boys basketball team has the look of a potential Central Section champion.
They’ve been playing hard, playing together, and winning at a high level as the 2017-18 season has progressed.
But to complete the feat, the No. 2-seeded Eagles will have to beat No. 1 Kerman in the Division IV Central Section championship game. The contest is scheduled for Saturday at noon at Selland Arena in Fresno.
“We’re very confident in ourselves. We’ve come together, especially late in the season,” said sophomore forward Ben Yurosek. “Everyone’s been contributing in their own way.”
Head coach Kyle Shiloh said Kerman will provide a stiff challenge for the Eagles.
The Lions bring considerable size to the table, Shiloh said. A quick glance at their roster shows 6-foot-4 junior forward Jacob Shubin (17.3 points, 15.7 rebounds per game); 6-foot-5 senior guard Daniel Rico (16.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG); and 6-foot-5 junior center Ezrah Mendrin (10.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG).
In order to advance to the championship, Kerman beat Foothill 93-86 in double overtime during last week’s semifinals.
“They have a lot of height at three different positions,” Shiloh pointed out.
The Eagles, for their part, have been playing good basketball as well. The team has a 25-6 record under Shiloh, a second-year head coach who played at Garces before taking the court collegiately at Nevada, and then professionally overseas.
“I don’t like coaches that have a system and they just run it no matter who they play or what the score of the game is,” Shiloh responded when asked to describe the Eagles offense. “I like making adjustments.”
Shiloh said his team hangs its hat on simply playing with effort.
“That was the first compliment I got from the last game, from just people that were watching. Just how hard we play,” Shiloh said. “We pride ourselves on that, big time.”
Yurosek said Shiloh, along with assistant coaches Issiah Grayson and Garrett Brown, have helped bring the team along. Grayson is a former player at Cal State Bakersfield (2012-14), while Brown's father, Keith, was the head coach at CSUB from 2005-11 and is currently an assistant at UNLV.
“They are so knowledgeable and experienced in the game of basketball and they all mesh together,” Yurosek said.
The Eagles have young talent in the program and are looking to continue their ascension. A win Saturday would be yet another step forward.
“Hard work pays off,” said junior guard AJ Walton. “We’re hoping to get that win. Definitely.”