Amador boys basketball offseason recap

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Joseph Chiu

Basketball players have been working out at local gyms together to prepare for the upcoming season.

As winter sports get underway, Amador Valley’s boys basketball team will begin official tryouts on Oct. 31. Players have worked out together since summer break, and their commitment to the program will be reflected in their first game. 

The first official game will be on Nov. 26 at College Park. Building up to the start of the season, practices are held every day after school with players individually working out at the gym. 

“(We’re) just working on building chemistry and playing together, perfecting our craft, and running plays right. We’ve all been lifting (weights) and we’ve been hanging out just building the chemistry,” said guard Colton Cash (‘23).

New juniors and transfers will be added to the varsity lineup this season and coaches hope to involve everyone in the system. Building a functioning lineup involves evaluating each player’s strengths and weaknesses for the benefit of the team. 

“We have new additions to the team and I believe we’ve done a really good job incorporating them and just building a better culture. The (returning) seniors are basically veterans on the team. We need to guide the newer guys through the long season and give them the mindset that they need to succeed,” said guard Jesse Huang (‘23)

Basketball teams cannot run formal coach-led practices prior to tryouts. However, players have been at Amador after school two times a week to offer support and improve their basketball skills. 

“I’ve been telling the kids to work on spacing, work on defense, take charges, and compete. I look for players that work hard, want to get better, and want to buy into the culture that I’m building here,” said head coach Willis Gardner

Coach Gardner expects returning seniors to be leaders on the team and help those new in the rotation. Offensive adjustments and general game plans will vary depending on the skill sets of players on the roster. 

“A lot of seniors left last year. We have two returning stars in Tyler Cheng and Colton Cash. It’s gonna be a new year for me. (It will be) interesting to see how the guys will lead the team once I’ve picked the team and get the pieces to the puzzle,” said Gardner.

Amador finished the 2021-22 season with a 12-11 overall record, and they look to get back to the playoffs this season. 

“We’re super motivated (because) we went out bad last year versus Foothill. Ever since that, we’ve been super focused in practice, in the gym, and we’re ready for next year,” said Cash.