The last five seasons for the Skyline men’s basketball team has been underwhelming, to say the least. In three of the last five seasons, the Trojans failed to win 10 games, accumulating a 44-82 record in that stretch.
But this season Skyline has opened the season with nine straight victories, which includes a championship in the Mendocino tournament last month.
Coach Justin Piergrossi insists that he hasn’t pulled any rabbits out of his hat, or changed the way he’s prepared his club.
“Nothing has changed here and there’s no panic when we do have a losing season,” said Piergrossi, who is now in his 11th season at Skyline. “We’re playing pretty unselfish and we’re getting a lot of guys contributing to our early success.”
Playing in the daunting Coast Conference North, where most of the teams have a slew of out-of-state and sometimes foreign talent, Skyline — which only has three holdovers from a season ago — has a roster of players from the Bay Area.
One of those local products is Elijah White, who played his high school ball at El Camino in South San Francisco. The 5-foot-9 point guard has gotten off to a blazing start, shooting 51 percent while averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.2 steals a game. He has drawn the attention of some Division I and II schools.
“He’s really grown into a fantastic floor general,” Piergrossi said. “Runs the show with confidence, puts a ton of pressure on the defense, and he’s shooting a high percentage. He’s grown into the role of being not just the leading scorer, but the leader of this team. He’s really done a good job with that.”
A player who gave the Academic Athletic Association fits in 2013-14 is also making his presence felt, 6-8 freshman Seth Snoddy. He helped Lincoln go undefeated in the AAA, and was a catalyst in the NorCal playoffs when the Mustangs upset De La Salle. He is averaging a modest 6.5 points a game, but he’s also averaging 6.0 rebounds and a block a game, while altering many shots.
“He had a great three days in the Mendocino tournament,” Piergrossi said. “He’s really developing quickly, getting more comfortable scoring the ball. And defensively, he creates problems because he’s so active and covers so much ground.”
Two other freshmen, 6-4 Tavita Jimenez (Serra) and 6-foot Wai Min (Westmoor) average a shade over 10 points for a team averaging 72 points a game on the young season.
But despite the hot start, Piergrossi knows that on Jan. 7 when conference play starts, he will get a better read on what this team can become. However, he guarantees his team will be ready to lace ’em up with whomever, and give a spirited 40 minutes of effort.
“Our talent and our skill level is a little better this year, but the guys have bought in,” Piergrossi said. “Again, nothing has changed. Overall, the guys are just playing incredibly hard, and they’re playing together, and when you can do that, you have a chance to win.”