For the Tomales High School boys basketball team, monitoring fouls is more than important, it is a matter of survival.

The Braves have already had to finish one game this season with four players on the floor. The problem isn’t that the Braves foul a lot. It is that they don’t have bodies to spare.

Tomales has just seven bodies on its varsity. There are nine players on the junior varsity, but all those players are either freshmen, or have never played the game or the high-school level.

“The development of those kids (on the junior varsity) is crucial to making our team grow,” explained Tomales coach Tyler Reynolds.

Although he has just seven players on the varsity roster, one of Reynolds’ major challenges is getting two returning players, three players up from the junior varsity and two who have never played high school basketball to gel into a cohesive unit.

“We have athletes and good speed. We have to use that to our advantage,” said the coach.

“Our basketball IQ and skills are a work in progress. We’re getting better every game.

“The key thing for us is defense. If we are able to get stops on defense, it will make using our speed a lot easier.”

Leading the Braves are co-captains Andy Azevedo, Brady Woodward and Tony Romo. All three are juniors.

Azevedo is an excellent all-around player who can score and is also a good ball handler.

Woodward, at 6-foot, 3-inches, is one of the taller of the Braves. He got a slow start due to a lingering football injury, but in his first game on the court, he pulled down 11 rebounds.

Romo is one of the Braves’ all-around athletes who is being counted on for scoring and defense.

With Romo, Azevedo and promising sophomore Nick Wright, the Braves have three solid guards. “Nick is one of our main shooters,” the coach said.

Woodward and 6-foot, 5-inch Concho Padilla give them height underneath.

“Padilla has a huge wing span,” Reynolds pointed out. “He is getting better and better each day.”

Junior Riker Wright and the team’s lone senior, Javi Flores, also are valuable contributors.

Reynolds, who also co-coaches the baseball team, is originally from Indiana and has seen a lot of good basketball. He hopes to see a lot more at Tomales.

He said coaching at Tomales has been a learning experience, but he is thoroughly enjoying that experience.

“It has been kind of a learning curve,” he explained. “But I love being here at Tomales.”