Atascadero High's Troy Norris has helped lead the Greyhounds to a 16-3 overall record, 6-0 in the PAC 7 over the first half of league play. — Tribune file photo by David Middlecamp ©
Atascadero boys basketball came into Friday having already wrapped up its first half of league play at an unblemished 6-0 (16-3 overall). Impressively, four of those six wins have come on the road, including the biggest of all, a 75-57 victory Jan. 14 over second-place Righetti (12-6, 5-1), which had also come in as the league’s only other undefeated team.
The Greyhounds, who concluded the first round with a 79-47 crushing of overmatched, last-place Pioneer Valley, have no shortage of weapons. Everyone knew coming into the season the type of year that Troy Norris was likely to have. But junior combo guard Hayden Mislavsky and freshman wing Robert Berwick have also consistently shown the ability to not only finish, but also create for others off the dribble.
Down low, the Greyhounds have seen the continued improvement of one of the area’s best big men in 6-foot-7 senior Sean Slavin, who also has plenty of help on the boards from Weston Walker, a second-year starter who brings the toughness of being a tight end onto the hardwood.
We’ll see if anyone can beat them in the second round. Three of their earlier matchups were relatively close: 65-55 over third-place Arroyo Grande, 43-31 over sixth-place Paso Robles and 68-58 over fourth-place San Luis Obispo. Do you think the Greyhounds will run the table in league? Or can someone knock them off?
Outside of the PAC 7, there was a solid showdown Friday night between Los Padres League unbeaten Morro Bay (11-9, 6-0) and independent Mission Prep (12-7).
The Royals made something of a statement as to their standing locally, thumping the Pirates 70-45 thanks to a 62-31 margin over the course of the final three quarters. Mission Prep, which has played PAC 7 teams tough all year as well, has a complementary group of players inside the paint and around the perimeter, led by power forward Art Lane and athletic center Zach Allmon, one of the area’s leading rebounders, aided on the outside by Andy Rowley, Spencer Rowley, Mike Cardwell and Tyler Baty.
It should be interesting to see if the Royals, ranked No. 6 in Division 5AA of the Southern Section, find their way into the playoffs as an independent. They’ll be eligible if they finish the regular season with a .500 winning percentage, which seems like a lock. After that, it will be up to how many at-large teams from exterior leagues apply to get in.
In girls basketball, St. Joseph remained the pre-eminent program locally on Friday night, although it was definitely close. The Knights (14-4, 6-0) edged Arroyo Grande (15-3, 5-1) for first place in the PAC 7, 57-48, thanks to a 20-9 third-quarter run that undid a 23-19 halftime lead for the Eagles. St. Joseph junior center Aly Beebe had 23 points.
Who do you think will take the rematch between those two? The odds are it will ultimately determine whether the league title is shared or singularly owned.
In LPL girls hoops, Morro Bay (14-4, 5-1), ranked No. 6 in Division 4A, continues to look solid, particularly after pulling out a couple close games this past week. The most recent one was 38-37 over eighth-ranked Mission Prep (15-5), which has been having a banner season in its own right thanks largely to guard Jenna Dunbar and forward Bri Harvey. In that game, where Pirates coach Cary Nerelli was honored by his alma mater after recently surpassing the 400-win mark, 6-2 Morro Bay sophomore center Hannah Gilbert had 15 points and 18 rebounds to help out star senior point guard Megan Hansen.
Also noteworthy of late:
• In a recruiting update, as of earlier this week, Templeton linebacker Tyler Gray was scheduled to visit Air Force and Hawaii. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Los Padres League Defensive Back of the Year and all-San Luis Obispo County first-team selection already also has scholarship offers from San Jose State and Cal Poly. Signing day is Feb. 2.
• Paso Robles boys soccer (13-3-1, 5-1) made a huge statement Friday with a 4-1 win over two-time defending PAC 7 champion Righetti. The Bearcats, who were edged 2-1 by unbeaten Arroyo Grande (10-4-3, 6-0) earlier this season, could force a split for the league title depending on how the eventual rematch plays out.
• PAC 7 girls soccer should also continue to be close until the final week. One-loss Arroyo Grande tied St. Joseph 2-2 Friday and stands at 3-1-2 (8-1-4 overall).
• Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo are among the 70 wrestling teams at this year’s 56th annual Morro Bay-hosted Sam Boyd Invitational (formerly the CIT), which will continue Saturday. (Likely PAC 7 runner-up Paso Robles is at the Mid-Cal Classic tournament in Gilroy.)
Atascadero, which hasn’t lost a league dual in five years and is ranked No. 3 in Division 1 and No. 34 in the state at TheCaliforniaWrestler.com, went a long way in clinching another PAC 7 championship earlier this week, as the Greyhounds (11-1, 5-0) topped the Bearcats 43-19. Elijah Jackson, TCW’s 11th-ranked grappler statewide at 160 pounds, started that night with a pin for Atascadero.
• A similarly dominant program, Arroyo Grande girls water polo, has also stayed on a roll of late. The Eagles (16-3, 7-0) are ranked No. 3 in Division 3 after getting moved up this past offseason from Division 4 (in which they had won three straight divisional crowns).
• Mission Prep is seeking to hire assistant football coaches with experience. Interested applicants should contact Royals head coach Chad Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short résumé and contact info.
• San Luis Obispo High is looking to hire junior varsity coaches for both boys tennis and boys volleyball. Interested applicants should call Tigers athletic director Vic Ecklund at 596-4040.