May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

New look Beckman boys basketball team out to defend PCL crown

Beckman Coach John Goins leads his team into the league opener this week. (File photo Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Beckman High’s boys basketball team opens defense of its Pacific Coast League title this week.

No team in the league has compiled a winning record during nonleague play. The Patriots and Portola, who are both 8-10 overall, have the two best records in the league and most of the other teams have struggled for wins in November and December.

Beckman Coach John Goins said he believes his team’s non-league schedule will pay dividends for Beckman. Beckman plays at Portola Tuesday night in the opener.

“I think we had a valuable nonleague experience,” he said. “While I’m not crazy about having 10 losses, we played high level competition and showed that we have the ability to compete with very good teams. We lost to Servite at the buzzer, La Habra in overtime, Cypress games came down to the final minute, and I thought we were plagued by single bad quarters against MIssion Viejo, Carlsbad and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

“These experiences should put us in a position to win every night in our league as long as we go out there and execute. We are blessed with great size, led by junior Ethan Bozzo who is 6-6, junior Jake Morrison at 6-6 and freshman David Manea at 6-5. They are our three leading scorers and rebounders, which between the three of them account for about 30 points and 25 rebounds per game.

“Elijah Bunney (junior), who is about 6-4, has really come on in the last week playing excellent defense and letting the offense come to him. Our top scoring guard is Dowon Kim (sophomore) who I feel can get by anybody in our league and has also been probably our top on ball defender. “

Beckman, which won its first league title last year with a 20-7 overall record and 8-2 league mark, was led by star guard Dylan Thoerner, who is now playing at Tufts University. So there aren’t many comparisons between this year and last year. Thoener was Beckman’s all-time leading scorer.

“Our team is nothing like it was last season so it is hard to think of them as defending anything,” Goins said. “They are still learning how to win and will need to play well to earn their league wins. Portola and their entire returning team to me is the toughest matchup in the league.

“They have some length, shooting, and now the experience to get the big games won. We start off league with them on Tuesday night, so that game will answer some questions between our two teams.  Everyone talks about our length but that doesn’t make shots or get stops, and we’ve shown so far that putting together four quarters is not something we have had consistent success with. 

“I’ve been looking forward to these 10 games with this group. It’s time to see if we have come as far as I hoped we would by this point, there are no moral victories in January and February.”

In the other PCL games Tuesday night, Irvine (6-11) plays at Woodbridge (2-14) and University (5-10) plays at Northwood (5-13).

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com