Paonia head basketball coach Chase Roeber is looking forward to seeing what his players can do this season. "My top six are as solid as any group I've seen before," said Roeber, a former team member now in his third year as head coach.
"This summer they put a lot of work in on their own time."
Seniors Jason Sturgis and Josiah Spano, both all-conference players last season, return to the court for Paonia. They and teammate Ben Linnell, who shot six 3-pointers and scored 25 points in the final game last season, spent most of the summer on the basketball court. Five-foot-11-inch sophomore Francisco "Frany" Lopez and 5-10 junior Oscar Lopez also put in extra time over the summer, and Roeber already sees the results.
Paonia scrimmaged at Cedaredge and Gunnison last week. At Cedaredge, said Roeber, "we put a couple of new things in. Once they made a few adjustments, we looked pretty good."
The team lacked several players, including Trevor Plymale, Chase Park, Michael Lozano and Taylor Walters, due to the Eagles' football team winning the state title on Nov. 23. Brent McRae, who coached the team to its title, returns for a second season of coaching the junior varsity squad.
An all-conference player his freshman year, Walters averaged 11.4 points per game and was a lead rebounder in the Western Slope conference.
Sophomore Nathaniel Gomez started his freshman season on the varsity squad, but suffered a knee injury in the season-opener against Grand Valley, the team Paonia will face next Friday. Gomez is a solid ball handler and is future point guard material, said Roeber. "He's looking good."
Paonia's home opener will be on Jan. 11 against Meeker. The Eagles opened the season Tuesday night in a non-conference game at Olathe (see the Dec. 11 edition of the DCI for results).
Paonia travels to Telluride and Rifle this weekend.
Paonia opens the annual Delta County/Colorado First National Bank tournament on Dec. 20 against Cedaredge.
By then the football players should be up to speed, said Roeber, but exactly where everyone will be on the court could still be in flux. "We'll be tweaking things until after Christmas."blog comments powered by Disqus