New El Dorado High varsity boys basketball coach Conrad Dizon is familiar with the program having coached the Cougars’ junior varsity boys teams in recent years.
Dizon, who teaches computer and accounting classes on campus, takes over for Ken Macklin. On Monday at the L.A. Brown Gym, Dizon watched his squad jump out to a fast start in the annual Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game before Nevada Union slowed the Cougars enough to post a 57-48 win in overtime.
El Dorado jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter before its lead shrunk to 22-17 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Cougars led 33-31 but the Miners continued to dig themselves back into the game. The score was tied 45-all after the fourth quarter.
“We were fired up to play,” Dizon said. “It looked like we were going to blow them out. They came back. Give them credit; they hung in there.”
Experience and depth highlight the Cougars’ roster. Dizon has six players returning from last year’s squad that went 5-7 in the Sierra Valley Conference and 9-17 overall. And 10 of the 14 players are 6-foot or taller; center/forward Michael Weston is the tallest at 6-6.
“Our strength is we’re deep,” Dizon said.
Returning players are Kean Thompson, Tommy Williams, Soren Shepherd and swingman Aaron Line, plus Weston, who’ll see action at center and forward positions. All five are seniors. Forward Matt Smith, a junior who started last year, rounds out the returning players.
Juniors on the squad are Ian Spencer, Cam Battersby, Jeff Riley, Casey Nyquist, Isaac Bugbee, Ryan Campbell and Christian Robson.
The Cougars’ offense will be geared toward an all-around effort with their inside game, as well as developing their outside shots.
“We’re trying to drive and kick, and take good shots,” Dizon said. “We got some good looks (against Nevada Union).”
The Cougars’ pressure man-to-man defense forced the Miners into many turnovers underneath the basket.
Cosumnes Oaks and River City are expected to battle for the conference top spot, along with Liberty Ranch.
“We’re hoping to compete against those guys,” Dizon said. “Playing hard tonight was a good test for us.”
Williams finished with 12 points for the Cougars. Smith followed with 8, Spencer 7 and Line 6.
Last night, El Dorado played at Ponderosa. Tomorrow, the Cougars tip-off their annual Gold Dust Tournament that concludes on Saturday (see bracket). Both El Dorado and Ponderosa host the first two days.
The Foundation Games raises money for the A. Dale Lacky Scholarship and Women in Sports Conference.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.