JJ SAYS: Unsung basketball heroes

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It is an honor to make an All-League team. It means you have been recognized by the league’s opposing coaches as one of the best to play against them.

In a perfect world, the best of the best would be placed on the all-league first team, exceptional players would be given positions on the third team and very good players would receive honorable mention notice. In case it might have missed your attention, we do not live in a perfect world. Even the coaches don’t always get it right.

This is neither a criticism of the coaches nor a complaint about the first All Vine Valley Athletic League basketball teams.

For as many basketball games as I see during a season — about three a week — there is no way I could choose an all-league team. I am usually focused on the local team and too often overlook all but the big scorers from the opposition.

That is, of course, a major problem, especially when choosing an all-league basketball team. Basketball, even more than baseball, is a numbers game. Points, rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers can all be categorized and counted. But, numbers don’t always tell the true or complete story.

For all I know, the VVAL coaches got their all-league perfectly correct, but there are other players whose all-court play deserve recognition.

I’m going to highlight one boy and one girl from Petaluma and Casa Grande who received no all-league honors but deserved recognition for their defense, floor play and teamwork. I can’t honestly highlight players from St. Vincent because I didn’t have an opportunity to see them play.

Muscular center Kenny Alexander and the guard combination of Robbie Isetta and Estaban Bermudez from Petaluma High rightfully received some sort of all-league recognition.

There were several others who contributed at times as Trojan coach Scott Behrs vainly sought for a winning combination. But the player who really caught my eye was senior George Tynes.

Tynes struggled at times playing within the Trojan system, but no one could miss his enthusiasm and energy all over the court. And one thing was quickly apparent — he played well above his 6-foot, 4-inch height. He soars rather than jumps. Playing part time, he didn’t have the numbers of some of his teammates, but his never-back-down aggressiveness was fun to watch.

On a team that featured the multi-talented Garrett Siebels and several others capable of long-range bombing, it was easy to overlook Casa Grande’s Kevin Cadle.

The 6-foot senior didn’t score a lot, averaging just two points per game, but he made scores happen. He led the Gauchos in assists and steals. Despite his size, relatively small for a rebounder, he was second behind Siebels in rebounding.

The future looks bright for the Petaluma girls team in a large part because of the anticipated development of 5-foot, 8-inch sophomore Rose Nevin. Despite giving away height to opposing centers and, like all T-Girls, sharing playing time, she was still someone to be contended with in the lane.

She was second to Sheriene Arikat in rebounding and third in blocked shots. She averaged just 4.5 points per game, but that number will climb as she gains experience and confidence.

Casa Grande’s Sophia Gardea may have been overlooked by the league coaches, but she was certainly well known by her own coaches, teammates and team followers.

The junior was the engine that made the Gauchos go, handling and distributing the ball.

She led the team in assists, was second in steals and averaged a creditable 6.3 points per game scoring. But numbers don’t begin to reflect her value as a perpetual motion team leader.

(Contact John Jackson at johnie.jackson@arguscourier.com)

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