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Wildfires look to hit reverse

Foresthill turns to core of championship JV?squad after rough one-win season
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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FORESTHILL — Tommy Sawyer and his teammates on the Foresthill High boys basketball team aren’t basking in the glory of past accomplishments. Even after winning a junior varsity league title on the basketball court last season the Wildfires’ juniors know it’s back to square one this season. “Varsity is a whole new game,” said Sawyer, Foresthill’s play-making point guard who led the JV squad to a 13-0 run through the Central Valley Christian League last year. “Our approach is, ‘Let’s try to do it again.’ But I don’t think we have a lot of confidence because of last year. We have a lot of talent and everyone’s stepped up. We just need to keep working hard and getting better.” Oscar David enters his second year as the Wildfires’ varsity coach with just three seniors on the roster. Senior center Doyle Jones is a team captain while fellow upper classmen Travis Wilburn and Jordan Boyer are holdovers from the football team, which played in its first Sac-Joaquin Section title game last month. While the Foresthill squad is young, David said the juniors’ chemistry is invaluable. “I coached them two years ago (on the junior varsity team) and these juniors have a unique bond,” David said. “They’re very conscientious, hard workers. There is a learning curve and they are learning to adjust to the varsity level. But they take care of each other.” Sawyer runs the Wildfires’ up-tempo offense and leads the team in scoring. Sawyer’s also got some nice weapons on board. Wilburn, a versatile forward, and Jones average eight points apiece. Juniors Patrick Miles is a tough power forward and Brooks White is a deadly outside shooter. Junior Cole Bennett has come on strong at the off-guard spot. “It was his first year playing basketball last year and he’s worked so hard,” White said of Bennett. “He’s gotten drastically better.” David said Wes Archbold, Eric Freed, Nick Gleason, Justin Marshall and Ryan Chaney have also made great contributions so far this season. Foresthill is 3-6 after a big win over Freedom Christian on Tuesday. The Wildfires are taking their three weeks before the start of the CVCL season to focus on fundamentals and develop a good base for what they hope will be a dramatic turnaround in 2012. Foresthill struggled to a 1-20 record last year, taking its season finale against Cristo Rey to avoid a winless season. The CVCL looks as tough as ever with Woodland Christian, Sacramento Waldorf, Victory Christian and Forest Lake all posting impressive records so far this season. A run at a league title would be a remarkable story for the Wildfires and David believes it can happen. “It’s definitely one of our goals,” he said. “It’s up to us to work together and put in the time. We have to clean up the details and get it done.” Foresthill got a taste of CVCL competition at its inaugural Wildfires Invitational earlier this month. The hosts squared off against Forest Lake and hung tough before the Falcons pulled away in the fourth quarter to win it. “Forest Lake is going to be our biggest competition, I think,” Miles said. “We showed we can compete with them.”