Coming off a season in which it shared the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division championship and made a run to the Central Coast Section Division III semifinals, the Mills boys’ basketball team looks to continue its winning ways in the upcoming season.
However, with a brand new starting five and many new faces up and down the roster, staying atop the Bay Division will not be something that comes easy for such an inexperienced club.
Coach Rick Hanson understands the many challenges that face him in the upcoming season. One of the big keys will be finding a replacement for point guard Kyle Wong, who graduated and is now playing at CSU Monterey Bay.
“It will be tough,” Hanson said. “We’re going to have a brand new starting five, and we have only two players who saw any significant action last year. We will have to take it one step at a time.”
One thing that Hanson wants to focus on is getting the new faces some fast-needed experience and finding a way for his team to mesh together.
“It’s difficult to gauge how competitive we will be as of right now,” Hanson said. “However, I know that I will have to get my guys some experience playing at the type of pace we play at. Nonetheless, I am extremely anxious to see what I am working with.”
Gone with last season’s starters is a lot of team speed, but Hanson hopes his team can make up for that with improved rebounding. The Vikings feature three players who are at least 6-foot-2, which should give them an edge on most nights.
“We may not be as fast as [we] were last year, but one thing I do know is we will be a very tough team to rebound against,” Hanson said.
On the bright side, the Vikings do have a couple of familiar faces returning.
Senior guard Marcus Chew and 6-foot-2 senior forward Arakel Aristakessian will be expected to lead the Vikings, who finished 21-8 overall and 8-2 in the Bay Division last season.
Both Chew and Aristakessian saw significant time off of the bench last year, and now will be thrown into a starting role. That change of pace can be tough to get accustomed to, however, Hanson feels they will be able to handle the transition.
Mills opens its season on Thursday in the Cupertino Tournament, where it will battle Bellarmine. League action kicks on Jan. 12 when the Vikings host Half Moon Bay.
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