Last year, the Westmoor High School boys’ basketball team finished second to Half Moon Bay in the Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division. As the Rams prepare for this year’s league opener, they know three things for certain.
First, Half Moon Bay is no longer in the Lake Division. Second, of the players that returned this year, very few have any varsity experience. Third, Capuchino is still in the same division with Westmoor and will likely be the Rams’ toughest competition.
“Capuchino is definitely the team we have to beat,” Rams coach Herb Yaptinchay said earlier this week. “They will be our biggest game this year.”
Yaptinchay’s primary concern, after his team’s inexperience, is the size disadvantage it will face night in and night out. Especially when his club faces its main rival in Capuchino, which will first happen at home on Wednesday, followed by the rematch on the road on Feb. 4.
“I hate to say it’s going to be like David versus Goliath,” Yaptinchay said. “But that’s exactly what it is going to be. The question will be: Can we deal with their size? They are a very tall team, especially compared to us.”
Without the height to challenge shots against a set offense, or to attack a set defense, the Rams will use the one advantage they figure to have this year — their speed.
“We’ll push the ball up the floor on offense,” Yaptinchay said. “If we can get down there before their big guys do we’re in good shape.”
The Rams will also press on defense, looking to generate turnovers and keep their opponents from setting up their offense.
Westmoor used that formula to jump out to a 7-1 start during nonleague play and looked to be well on its way to challenging for the Lake title. But the Rams’ inexperience at the varsity level, as well as their lack of experience playing together as a team, has caught up with them. Westmoor has dropped six of its last seven games and goes into Friday’s league opener at Sequoia on Friday with an 8-7 nonleague record on their resume.
“A lot of it is because we are a young team,” Yaptinchay explained. “We’re still learning how to win and lose games. Because of our size, we need to play harder and out-execute the other team.”
The team’s leadership will come from sophomore forward Wai Min and junior guard Maynard Raymundo. Junior forward Anthony Spooner returns to the varsity squad this year after missing all of last year. Spooner was on varsity in his freshman year and will be a much-needed boost to the Rams’ roster.
“They’ve been doing some good things so far,” Yaptinchay said. “We just need to keep playing hard.”
A second straight trip to the Central Coast Section playoffs may be their reward if they do.