With the Carlmont boys’ basketball team returning only three seniors and losing Peninsula Athletic League Ocean MVP James Testa to graduation, Carlmont is looking much more youthful heading into this season.
“This group of kids is very hard-working from a top down,” Carlmont coach Dave Low said. “It’s everybody that’s been most refreshing, rewarding.”
Low said the style of play of his team, which was eliminated in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs last season, will be significantly different this year, with a higher emphasis on defense.
“Right now, with the coaching staff, we’re concerned with getting our kids playing at a level where they can win varsity games,” Low said. “If we get in the 50s, that’s going to be a high-scoring game for us.”
Carlmont will not be relying on one player to be the consistent double-digit scorer, but rather will look to get contributions from the entire roster.
“I’ve always had one or two kids who got double figures,” Low said. “We just don’t have that scoring punch. It’s going to be scoring by committee.”
In their first game, Carlmont scored 38 points, but came away with the win.
“As we play more preseason games, we’re going to have to find out who’s going to do the scoring,” Low said.
The Scots have a slew of new players, some of whom Low sees contributing immediately.
Juniors Mdudzi Hlatshwayo, Yash Malik and sophomore Michael Costello, who scored 16 points in Tuesday’s victory against Burton, are expected to play significant minutes after moving up to varsity this year.
Low, who is in his 11th year with Carlmont, has been impressed with Costello, who moved up from the freshman team.
The Scots return seniors Jacob Fox, Josh Faulkner and 6-foot-4 Derek Kaptanoglu, but much like the new varsity players, the trio does not have a ton of playing experience.
“Looking at the lack of varsity playing time experience, [we wanted to] get them the most experience possible so they’re not overwhelmed,” Low said.
Despite the youth of the team, the goal remains winning the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division and to reach the CCS playoffs.
“You want to get better, and I would say we hit a stretch early that it was ugly in terms of execution,” Low said. “In the last week and a half, our consistency of play has been better.”
Once league play begins, Carlmont will start play with its first four games at home before finishing off with four on the road.
“By the time league rolls around, we should be competitive,” Low said.
The Scots finished tied atop the PAL Ocean last season with Mills and Jefferson.