Kyle Shiloh has grown so accustomed to the narrative of the youth of his Bakersfield Christian boys basketball team that it has grown old to him.
The Eagles, who do not have a senior on their roster, do not play the part of their age, and Shiloh just wants his team to improve daily.
On Tuesday, BCHS stormed out to a 16-point first quarter lead and never looked back as the Eagles (15-4, 5-0) remain undefeated in South Sequoia League play with a 70-45 win at home over Shafter.
“I really am tired of talking about their age,” Shiloh said. “They need to take advantage of every year they have in high school and understand how good they are right now.”
It’s hard to look past the age factor because of players like sophomore Ben Yurosek.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound post player dominates the paint and runs the court like a guard.
“I wish he knew just how good he is. It’s scary,” Shiloh said. “We can’t find another guy in town that is anything like him.”
Yurosek led BCHS with 23 points and 15 rebounds while juniors A.J. Walton and Eric Buetow and freshman Seth Marantos added 11 points each for the Eagles.
“We have a lot of potential,” Shiloh said. “But these guys work so hard. Their basketball IQ is so high."
BCHS has outscored SSL opponents by an average of 25 points a game.
For the Eagles, winning a league title is the first goal, but there is more at stake.
“We want to win league and in order to do that we have to beat quality teams like Shafter,” Yurosek said. “That’s the goal, but the ultimate goal is getting a ring. And to do that, we have to play to our full ability every night.”
Yurosek scored 11 points in the first six minutes of the game as the Eagles opened up the first quarter with a 20-4 lead and were up 35-9 at halftime.
“We have been great at starting off hot all season,” Yurosek said. “But we need to continue to get better at continuing that through the second half.”
Shafter (11-8, 2-3) outscored BCHS 27-20 in the third quarter, but the halftime deficit was too much for the Generals.
Jose Maldonado and Steven Anaya led Shafter with 10 points each.
BCHS will play Fresno in a showcase tournament in Visalia on Saturday. After the Eagles went 10-4 in non-league play with the four losses coming by a combined 10 points — including losses to Bakersfield, Liberty and Centennial — Shiloh is hoping one more big game in January will help the team gear up for a late postseason run.
“Hopefully that game will give us another look at teams we could be seeing in the playoffs,” Shiloh said.
Shafter 54, BCHS 47: For the past four seasons, Arvin has been atop the SSL standings in girls basketball.
This season, however, it could be Shafter taking over top billing after the Generals beat Bakersfield Christian in the opener of Tuesday's varsity double-header.
Senior center Vada Lewis and sophomore guard Monica Birrueta both scored a game-high 18 for the Generals, who are seeking the program’s first league title since 2013-14.
The two teams came into Tuesday’s game with 4-0 records in the SSL.
“This means we have motivation to beat any other team that we have to play,” Lewis said.
Shafter (16-2, 5-0) has won 15 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 1.
“This is great. The girls have been playing great and really well together over the last three years,” Shafter coach Shawn Pennel said. “I am glad to be able to come in with high intensity and get a big win here.”
Lewis and Birrueta scored the first 11 points for the Generals and held a 27-25 lead at the half before opening the third quarter on an 11-2 run to take a double-digit advantage.
“Hopefully Shafter will get a little big more respect now,” Pennel said. “I’ve been telling the girls for the last couple of weeks that we have a target on our backs and we are ready for it.”
Lanie Jackson and Annie Filkins led BCHS (14-5, 4-1) with 14 points and freshman Dami Sule added 10.
Juanita Medina also had 10 points for Shafter.