Young Miners’ basketball team coming along; win over Superior, lose to Santa Cruz

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Varsity Boys Basketball-1.JPG

Jon Croci leaps high to get the ball in during a recent game against Santa Cruz. (Photo by Mrs. Stratton/San Manuel High School)

By Andrew Luberda

San Manuel Miner

The Miners’ boys’ basketball team is off to a 5 – 4 start on the season. Head coach Ryan Sichting said he has been surprised by how well the team has played together despite being a young team.

“We have three seniors and the rest are junior and sophomores,” Sichting said. “We are very inexperienced but we are improving each day.”

The Miners split two games last week, defeating Superior before suffering a loss against Santa Cruz Valley, 56 – 43.

Against the Dust Devils, the Miners trailed by three at the half before being outscored 31 – 21 in the second half. Senior Jonathan Croci led the Miners with 14 points. He shot 6 of 12 from the field and was perfect from the foul line. Croci also had four rebounds. Jordan Peasley added seven points and Bryan Valdez led the team with five rebounds and four assists.

As is expected with a young and inexperienced team, there is both good and bad in most contests and that was true versus Santa Cruz. The Miners shot 50 percent from the field going 18 for 36. The shooting percentage was the team’s highest in Coach Sichting’s three years at the school. On the other side, the Miners committed 22 turnovers in the game. That’s too many to be successful at this level.

“We need to improve on not turning the ball over as much,” Sichting said.

Sichting added that the Miners need to improve at the free throw line. They have struggled from the line so far this year. It’s important to be a good free throw shooting team, especially in close games. He is confident the team can make the necessary improvements.

“They are very coachable,” he said. “I’m very excited for the rest of the season.”

The Miners return to action on December 19, 2013 at Tohono O’Odham before taking on Hayden at home on December 20. Both games tipoff at 7:00 p.m.

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