It’s hard to predict the expectations for this year’s Terra Nova boys’ varsity basketball team. Usually, one can get a feel for how the season may go based on their summer performance but this wasn’t your typical summer for the Tigers.
“We never got to see all the guys play together. Not for one game, practice or even an open gym,” said Kenny Milch who is entering his fifth season as the varsity head coach.
In addition to the normal reasons for missing games like minor injuries, vacations and multi-sport conflicts, the Tigers went through the extreme: surgery for a deviated septum, a heart murmur, collapsed lung surgery, a concussion; two players had their wisdom teeth pulled, poison oak and a partially detached finger surgery.
With a patchwork summer squad, Terra Nova managed to peak at the Skyline Tournament and advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history. The Tigers pulled out wins over Menlo, Balboa (OT), Burlingame and a signature one point victory over Serra who was the tourney’s five-time defending champs.
The Tigers are coming off a 13-13 2014 season which saw the team win their first round Central Coast Section game for the third straight year and say goodbye to seven seniors. Returning from that is Jared Milch who was second on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game and second in assists with 50. The junior guard/forward was selected to the Peninsula Athletic League All-League honorable mention list and this summer made the Skyline College all-tournament team.
Senior swingman Gabe Vargas also returns after scoring 5.6 ppg and pulling an impressive 4.4 rebounds last year which was third on the team. Post player Ben Vidali is back as well. The senior started eight games in 2014, grabbed 97 rebounds and took a team leading eight charges. Senior post Eric Dale played sparingly last season but after a productive summer will be in the rotation.
Seniors Gerald Colvin and Brian Montgomery will join the squad after football and figure to be primetime pieces to the puzzle.
New to the basketball program, Colvin was dynamite in the summer at the point guard spot and should be able to fill the shoes of graduated first team all-leaguer and three year starter Jaylend Jones. Colvin also made the Skyline College all-tournament team.
After sitting out most of last year’s preseason due to the CCS transfer rule (previously attending Oceana), the 6’7 Montgomery then played in 13 games for the Tigers scoring 54 points and yanked 53 rebounds.
Other Tigers expected to contribute are guards Noah Nunez, Edward Matelli and Luke White. Helping in the post will be Jonathan Nahass and Ryan Cabrera.
“We just don’t know,” added Milch. “If everyone is suited up, healthy and plays together, this group has some potential to make some noise.”
The Tigers open the preseason hosting Lynbrook on Saturday and San Mateo on Tuesday.