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Revamped Eagles carry title aspirations

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LOOMIS — After losing some serious offensive firepower from last season, the Del Oro High boys basketball team realizes it’s going to take a group effort to make up the difference. The Golden Eagles have done just that so far, jumping out to a 5-1 record heading into the Thunder Invitational at Rocklin today. Senior Kyle Russell is the only player on the roster that started last season. The 6-8 senior is headed to UC Irvine on a volleyball scholarship. But he’s the defensive anchor for the Eagles, who are embarking on a new era without Spencer Butterfield and Aaron Hendricks. “We’re just trying to establish our identity right now,” Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles said. “We want to be defensive-minded first. It all starts at that end and then we can get our transition game going and just share the ball on offense.” Butterfield graduated after three stellar seasons with the Eagles. Hendricks, who would have been a fourth-year varsity player, transferred to New Hampton Prep School on the East coast. “We miss him, but we’re happy for him,” Broyles said. Junior Jordan Broyles — the coach’s son — was the top reserve on last year’s squad, which finished 19-9 overall and tied for third in the Sierra Foothill League. Broyles has beefed up his 6-4 frame and is one of the Eagles’ most reliable scorers this season. “We lost two big scorers from last year, but our team’s really deep,” Jordan said. “It’s not like one guy is taking all the shots. We like to utilize everybody.” Junior guard Austin Soldano has looked sharp early this season. He uses his speed on the fast break and shoots a high percentage from the field. “He runs the floor really well and he can finish with either hand,” Broyles said. “He’s doing a good job for us.” Along with Russell, senior Luke Cochran — also 6-8 — gives the Eagles another major presence in the paint. At point guard, senior Quincy Shelby and Rex Hime have both played well and stepped into leadership roles. “We’ve got a lot of good players,” Shelby said. “Our chemistry’s really good. We work really hard and we play together. My job is to just set people up, attack the hoop and take the shot when it’s open.” Del Oro will see some stiff competition in Rocklin this weekend, including possibly Woodcreek and/or the Thunder. The Timberwolves are the defending Sierra Foothill League and Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champions. Meanwhile Granite Bay, Rocklin and Nevada Union figure to be challengers in one of the top leagues in the region. “In the SFL we expect every game to be tough,” Shelby said. “Every game is a fight.” “Every year the expectations are really high for us,” Broyles added. “Our expectations haven’t dropped. We expect to win the SFL and hopefully go to Arco.”