By Andrew Luberda
Copper Basin News
The Bearcats’ boys’ seventh and eighth grade teams are coached by the school’s athletic director, Ramon Rubalcaba Jr. He’ll have double duty as both teams prepare to open their season. The eighth grade team is the defending league champions.
Coach Rubalcaba said there is excitement surrounding the basketball teams as the season approaches. Despite the fact that most of the players on the seventh grade are new to basketball, Coach Rubalcaba is looking forward to working them and seeing them develop.
“The seventh grade boys will be filled with a host of fast ball handlers, and basically no height,” he said in describing the team. “These boys will be fun to watch, they will make up for their lack of size with their speed and ball handling skills.”
Rubalcaba expects Stone Patterson and Danny Flores-Garcia to play the center position. Both players could see playing as forwards also. Romeo Williams-Varley, Guillermo Ortega, EJ Baca, and Tyler Goodwin are the other forwards on the team. Skyler Hughes, Jaden Pace, Dakota Willis, Daniel Ortiz, and Morgan Bray will play at the guard positions.
While the seventh grade may be short on height (no pun intended), the eighth grade league champions are not. Rubalcaba has four players who approach six-feet tall in his lineup including, Bobby Meza, Fabian Valenzuela, Julian Cruz, and Fransisco (Cisco) Martinez-Lopez. Cole Yocum, Nathan Molar, Chandler Coleman, James Goad, and Dyllin Sanders-Lopez are the guards on the team. Gavin Torrez will be used as a forward for the Jr. Bearcats.
Coach Rubalcaba said fans will see how well they play as team, which accounts for their success.
Coach Rubalcaba said he expects his players on both teams to display respect and discipline on and off the court. He believes those two qualities teach lessons for life.
“They need to be able to participate successfully in their academics, like in life, the most successful students, make the most successful athletes,” he said.
Rubalcaba added that those same attributes can lead to a successful season for the teams.
“The keys to a successful season are being able to understand the true meaning and value of the ideas of structure, discipline, and respect,” he said.
Rubalcaba said the teams’ practices will be open to the parents of the players and encourages them to attend. He said they can see the “other side” of coaches and players outside an academic setting. He also wants fans of the Jr. Bearcats to attend the games and cheer for the teams. He expects they’ll enjoy watching the players perform.
“The Ray fans will not be disappointed this year with any of our basketball programs,” he predicted. “It will be an exciting and fun season.”