Reaching for new heights

Jacob Sandman, Contributor

Coming off a 25-6 season, the Jesuit High School Marauders Varsity Basketball team will look to reach new heights this season.

After a year in which they went 12-2 in the Delta League and reached the section semifinals, the Marauders, under Head Coach Jon Rotz ‘92, have big expectations for this season.

The team’s wing, Matt Ehrlich ‘17, is the team’s leading returning scorer from a year ago, when he averaged 11.1 points per game. As a team leader and Varsity player since Sophomore year, Matt is confident about the team’s ability to have a successful season.

Our main goals as a team this year are winning a league title and a section title, then proceeding from there to make a good run in NorCals towards a state championship.” Matt said.

From the team’s perspective, these goals are reasonable when looking at their returning talent and upcoming Juniors on the team.

While the team did lose leaders in Malik Duffy ’16 and Ethan Pangelinan ’16, who were the leading scorer and third leading scorer, respectively, from a year ago, there is strong returning talent.

Matt will be accompanied by returning starting point guard Jake Virga ‘18 and guard Isaiah Rutherford ‘19, who was second in assists last season. The trio will be complemented by forward Chris Simpson ‘18, guard Kobe Byrd ‘18, and big men Darren Simlai ‘18 and Nick Miller ‘18.

While this year’s team has some new faces, year to year the team’s core principles do not change. Jesuit’s program is built on hard work, camaraderie, and effort.

“The biggest expectation that Coach Rotz has of us is to compete our absolute hardest no matter what the circumstance is.” Matt said.“Whether we’re on a good winning streak or coming off of a hard loss, our coaching staff just expects us to compete to the best of our ability.”

The team has a tough non-league schedule upcoming, which began with the 43rd Annual Father Barry Classic on Thursday, Dec. 8 when Jesuit played Elliot Christian High School.

The Marauders kicked off the tournament with a narrow loss to Elliot 76-72, followed by a more decisive loss to Brophy College Prep 71-39.  The team rebounded Saturday Dec. 10 as they played their last game of the tournament, defeating Modesto Christian High School 67-65.

Jesuit finished 7th in the tournament, which included teams from throughout the state of California.

After an up and down start to the season, The Marauders head into Friday’s highly anticipated tilt against Rio Americano High School with a record of 4-3.  Pre-sale of tickets begins this Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the Student Life Center at lunch and continues through Friday.