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News » Young Volcano Vista Has Uphill Battle Ahead


Young Volcano Vista Has Uphill Battle Ahead


Young Volcano Vista Has Uphill Battle Ahead
It's going to be a whole new ball game for the boys and girls varsity Basketball teams at Volcano Vista High School.

Last year, the high school opened its doors to freshmen only. This year, nearly everyone on both the girls and boys varsity squads has only a year of C team experience. Which means they competed exclusively with other freshmen teams.

Dressed in black and white with platinum uniforms, the Volcano Vista Hawks this season must move up to face the big boys and girls.

The girls' team has only one junior. Shanice Contreras is a 5-1 transfer from Cibola, where she played on the Cougars' JV five a season ago.

Villareal said her C team did well last year. "We jumped on some teams early and as the competition got better, we had better games."

Villareal came to Volcano Vista from Capital High School in Santa Fe, where she had coached the previous two seasons. Her coaching career began at Espa?ola Valley High School, where she had once played.

"When the opportunity at Volcano turned up, I thought I'd give it a shot."

In addition to coaching the girls, she is the school's technology coordinator, handling all the computers and other gadgetry on the campus.

"Our job last year," she said, "was to just work on fundamentals and try to get them to prepare mentally and physically for the upcoming season."

The Hawks played in a summer league, says Villareal, and competed in more than 20 games.

"That went well and the girls really proved they're competitive and that they were excited about the season ahead."

No one on the Hawks is more than 6 feet tall. "We're going to try to utilize speed as much as possible," Villareal says.

The challenges ahead include District 6-4A competition, where St. Pius, the Hawks' rival down the road, has won state two out of the past three years. Such a thought doesn't seem to faze Villareal.

"In my years of coaching, I've never had a freshman group come in with the competitive spirit these girls have. It's the whole group. They really want to work and to learn, and I've been really pleased."

Villareal says it's too early for her to name or cite specific players. "We're still trying to get into a mode of big-time competition and prepare for big games."

The good thing about having almost all freshmen and sophomores, says Villareal, is that next year they'll be sophomores and juniors."

Boys

"To say we're young is an understatement," Volcano Vista boys Basketball coach Greg Brown says.

Indeed, only one Hawk has played a varsity Basketball game. That honor belongs to McCoy Martinez, who did some service at Del Norte.

The Hawks do have two boys with JV experience, at Cibola, but the remainder of the roster, like Villareal's, reveals only C team-level play.

"There's going to be a lot of learning on the job as we go," says Brown, who came to Volcano Vista last year after five years as head coach at Manzano, where his teams won a state championship and a runner-up title.

"The key for us is not to be consumed with results on the scoreboard. We need to measure and gauge our success by how much we improve on a daily basis."

So far, Brown says, team practices have gone fairly well. "For the most part the effort has been great. The execution is still a work in progress."

Point guard Zach Salas should provide a leadership role, and Brown hopes to get scoring from just about everybody. Chad Bible and Jon Antencio will be called on to hold their own in the paint.

"Our perimeter guys need to play to their strength for us to be competitive" Brown says. "This is going to be a growth year, with a lot of learning."

Some of that education began in league play last summer.

"We won a few games," says Brown, "and we learned a lot about ourselves. But in terms of wins and losses, it was challenging."

The new challenges begin early. The Hawks' boys play three top 5A schools in first month and a half of the season. "We're going to be thrown directly into the fire," Brown says.

Brown, of course, has been around Basketball heat all his life. He and his younger brother, Danny, who is in his sixth year as the Highland High School boys coach, are the sons of Mike Brown. The senior Brown is beginning his 25th year as the head boys coach at Albuquerque Academy, where he has won more than 400 games and at one point led Charger teams to six state titles in a row.

"Growing up," says Greg, "we didn't know there were any other occupations available."

Vista girls

HEAD COACH: Lisa Villareal

YEARS AT SCHOOL: Entering second season

LAST SEASON'S RECORD:

12-8, playing only freshmen C team schedule

LAST SEASON'S DISTRICT RECORD: Did not play

POSTSEASON RESULT: Did not play

RETURNING STARTERS: Two, from C team

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Not available

KEY PLAYERS: Mandy Lee (5-1, so, G); Kelsie Webb (5-9, so., P); Emma Fenske (5-7, fr., G); Ashley Williams (5-5, fr., G); Miranda Barela (5-7, fr., F)

KEY NEWCOMER: All new

DID YOU KNOW: In 1986, as a freshman, Lisa Villareal's Espanola Valley High School team reached state, where it ran into Don Flanagancoached Eldorado in the first round.

Vista boys

HEAD COACH: Greg Brown YEARS AT SCHOOL: Entering second season

LAST SEASON'S RECORD:

12-8, playing only freshmen C team schedule

LAST SEASON'S DISTRICT RECORD: Did not play POSTSEASON RESULT: Did not play RETURNING STARTERS: 10, from C team

OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Not available

KEY PLAYERS: Zach Salas (5-8, so. G); Mario Molina (5-10, so., G); McCoy Martinez (5-8, jr. G); Chad Bible (6-2, jr. F); Jon Atencio (6-2, jr. P)

KEY NEWCOMER: All new

DID YOU KNOW: It's an unofficial team rule, says Greg Brown, that every Hawk must be taller than their coach. Greg Brown stands 5-8. "We have some rule-breakers," he admits.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 25, 2008

 

 
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