There is much new with Petaluma High School boys basketball this season, including a new coach, but many of the key players are familiar.
How those players approach the game will not only be new, it might also be continually evolving.
"We're not going to be locked into any one system," says new coach John Behrs. "We could run up and down the court, shoot 3-pointers or pound it inside. It depends on who we're playing and who we have on the court."
Petaluma is not overly big, but Behrs says the Trojans will compensate with athletic ability and experience.
Both Eric Hunsicker (6-feet, 4-inches) and Augie Bundesen (6-feet, 1-inch) play above their height. Both are seniors and varsity veterans.
"They are not real big, but they are aggressive and strong. They can defend people who are a few inches bigger they are," Behrs says.
"Hunsicker has developed his post moves. He jumps well and is a good defender. Bundesen is a good defender and is starting to become an offensive threat."
Behrs says senior James Potts (6-feet, 2-inches), a returning varsity veteran, is much improved and the Trojans are counting on him to help underneath the basket.
While Petaluma will move the ball inside whenever possible, the Trojans best offensive weapon will often be long-range shooting guard Clay Swanson.
The 5-foot, 9-inch senior is a 3-point threat from almost any spot in the front court and is quick enough and strong enough to drive to the hoop.
Noah Forrey is another senior guard with experience who can score and defend.
"Our guards are pretty talented," Behrs says. "They are aggressive, hard-nosed and they defend well."
Behrs has also been impressed with ball-handling junior Brandon Marwig. "Brandon has quickly picked up what we're doing," the coach said. "He can really run the team."
Behrs says the emergence of Marwig may allow Petaluma to become, at times, a three-guard team.
Another junior who is being counted on to make major contributions is 6-foot, 1-inch Joseph Lynch, another front-court player who plays taller than his size and has scoring potential. Junior Michael Smith will also help on the front line.
Junior guard Steven Copeland is a good 3-point shooter who gives the Trojans good outside scoring potential.
Junior Thomas Swanson is a strong defender, while senior Nathan Kirk provides depth at the guard spot.
Junior Bryce Kawaguchi was one of Petaluma's top junior varsity players last season, but starts his varsity career with an injured ankle. Behrs said when he is healthy, Kawaguchi will give Petaluma a quick guard with athletic ability who can drive to the hoop.
Junior Cogan Mahrt, at 6-foot, 3-inches and 230 pounds, has the potential to provide strength on the inside.
Behrs says his job of putting together a team in a short period of time after being named head coach just a week before practice started has been made easier by his varsity assistant coaches Scott Behrs (his son) and Braedon Ross.
"They are both young and relate well to the players," the head coach says. "The kids know and respect them. They do a great job running the practices and getting the team going."