As Pacheco's boys basketball team enters its second season of varsity play, the bar is set a little bit higher.
After the Panthers debuted with an 8-19 season, coach Tyrell Jenkins sees a squad in practice that is a little taller, a little more experience, and -- he hopes -- a little more basketball-savvy.
"We work hard in practice, as far as learning some stuff, but I think we have a team that likes to run," Jenkins said. "So hopefully we can use that as an advantage this year."
With Austin Luigard, Paul Parks, Brandon Shoals and LeAndre Wright all returning, plus Spencer Heaton coming up to varsity, the Panthers may not have that guy who can sweep the paint of rebounds, but they will have a wealth of arms creating chances inside.
"Austin has gotten stronger in the weight room, so he's played all summer as a big man, he's been working to be a little more as a forward for us too, so we can have a little more height on the court at one time," Jenkins said. "But yeah, I feel like this year we have more height. We have Spencer who's a junior, we're getting some people with some more length that we're not used to seeing."
Pacheco loses sharp-shooting guard Kenneth Remulla, who is concentrating on baseball, but there is still a wealth of players who can drain the outside shot, such as Edgar Iglesias.
Probably Jenkins's favorite aspect of his team this year is the maturity that comes with an extra year.
"A lot of my seniors realize it's their last go-around for high school sports, so I think we actually have leadership now -- people getting on people to do the right thing," Jenkins said. "I feel more like a coach now. Last year it was more like being a single parent, just jumping on people all the time. They tend to turn on you. But now it's like I can say something and my seniors back me up."
Jenkins would like to see the win-total improve, but his goals for the team are more centered around how it plays.
"I want to start a way of how to play, and it should be hard, aggressive, and never-ending no matter what the score is," he said. "If we can accomplish that this year, when I think our goals are set here at Pacheco."
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org