After Corona Centennial lost to host Studio City Harvard-Westlake for a third time in the regional semifinals, ending the Huskies’ season, coach Josh Giles walked from the locker room into the gym as he was headed to the team bus. Parents had stayed behind in the bleachers not wanting to leave until they expressed their feelings for Giles and his players.
They started clapping.
The message was clear: Parents were grateful for what Giles and his team had accomplished.
Three outstanding starters had left the program before the season, and yet Giles put together a team that went 27-5, won the Big VIII League title and was ranked No. 2 in the Southern Section Open Division at the end of the regular season.
Giles has been named The Times’ boys’ basketball coach of the year.
He was able to combine several veteran players with a group of untested young players and mold them into one of the best and most surprising teams in the Southland.
“I try to coach these kids how I’d want my kids to be coached,” he said. “I tell the guys all the time, ‘I’m not a hugger. If you came to Centennial to be coddled and have your back rubbed, I’m not your guy. You will be challenged and I demand a lot of you but I demand a lot of myself.’ I would want somebody to coach my kid like that.”