December is a hectic month for most people. On top of normal daily activities involving work and family, the final 31 days of the year are filled with a plethora of holiday-related things like shopping, decorating and parties.
It also happens to be one of the busiest months of the year for local sports action, with a vast array of high school and college winter sports games/competitions scheduled.
One of the most popular winter sports locally is high school basketball.
This year, Kern County prep hoops fans will have no shortage of exciting players and quality teams to follow and/or watch in person.
The Foothill High boys basketball team won the CIF State Division V championship last year. The Trojans graduated two BVarsity All-Area First Team selections (Edward Turner and Elijah Seales) but return high-flying junior guard Jaden Phillips.
The 6-foot-2 nephew of former Foothill star and Harlem Globetrotter Reggie Phillips was the Trojans’ second-leading scorer last year, averaging 16.8 points per game.
Another local high school boys basketball team to keep an eye on this season is BHS. The Drillers, who went 20-8 overall and 10-0 in Southwest Yosemite League games last season, return a ton of talent.
Back in the fold for the SWYL champs are All-Area First Team selection and league MVP David Whatley (11.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg), All-Area Second Team selection Josh Geary (10.9 ppg), and All-Area Honorable Mention choices Kosta Bikakis (10.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Sam Ackerman (8.1 ppg).
While Foothill will battle it out in the SEYL and BHS in the SWYL, Bakersfield Christian should be the favorite in the South Sequoia League. The Eagles went 22-8 overall and 9-1 SSL last year. They return a quartet of All-Area Honorable Mention picks in Lendl Henderson, Seth Marantos, Noah Taylor and Ben Yurosek.
The outlook for local high school girls basketball this year is just as promising as on the boys side of things.
BHS, which went 24-4 and won the Central Section Division II title last season, returns All-Area First Team forward Taylor Linzie.
The 5-foot-8 multifaceted standout averaged 9.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game last year.
Two other All-Area First Team selections, Kanyah Patterson (East) and Teagan Thurman (Tehachapi), are back for their senior seasons.
A year ago, Patterson averaged 18.5 points per game for the 17-win Blades and had two 30-plus-point games.
Thurman was a double-double machine last season, averaging 17.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for a Warriors team that went 23-8 overall and finished in a three-way tie for the SSL title.
A trio of All-Area Second Team selections, Addisyn McMurtrey of Garces (11.3 ppg), Nevaeh Linton of Highland (13.6 ppg) and Ray Vaughn of West (13.0 ppg) bring additional star power to this year’s local high school girls basketball scene.
December is a great month to see a lot of the local talent in action. ￼