State the obvious to Dennis Kane, San Diego High basketball coach, and Kane throws it right back.
A lot of sophomores on the team this year, Coach.
"Yeah," Kane replies. "Eight of them."
And Friday night in the second round of the Pepsi/SUHi tournament, San Diego's eight sophomores, one junior and one senior were better than Sweetwater's one freshman, one sophomore, five juniors and five seniors. In fact, San Diego was 27 points better, 68-51.
"They played real well," Sweetwater Coach David Ybarra said. "They kept their composure in the third quarter--you have to give them credit. We had seniors out there and they couldn't handle a bunch of sophomores and that's kind of embarrassing."
San Diego took charge in the third quarter, increasing what had been a two-point halftime lead into a 17-point lead by quarter's end.
The Cavers ballooned the margin with several fast breaks, but also proved they could slow it down and set up their offense and find the open shot.
More often than not the open shots went to sophomores Tavie Mason and Travis Nicholls. Mason was hot from the outside hitting four three-pointers and finished with 21 points. Despite his size, Nicholls, a 6-foot forward, got most of his points from inside the paint, many after coming down with offensive rebounds, and finished with 19.
Kane, who put about 10 juniors on the junior varsity to make room for the eight sophomores, isn't surprised his team has compiled a 5-3 record so far.
After all, Mason and Nicholls as well as teammates Walt Williams and Pernell Burgin all started for last year's JV, which won the Central League with an 18-3 record. The fifth starter, Yusef Hason is now the only junior on the varsity.