PREP NOTEBOOK: Atwater building chemistry on the fly

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comDecember 4, 2012 

— With 14 games scheduled in December, it doesn't leave the Atwater High boys basketball team much time to practice.

It forces Falcons coach Tony Hillyer and his players to make adjustments on the run.

"We have a new coach, a new philosophy, new players, chemistry is a big issue," Hillyer said. "We didn't show much chemistry our first four games. That's what I'm looking to build on this week: chemistry and continuity."

The Falcons (2-2) will spend the next three nights on the court as they team with Buhach Colony (1-0) to host the sixth annual Save Mart Classic.

The eight-team tournament will be played at both Atwater and Buhach Colony.

The Falcons will host Mariposa tonight at 8 p.m. Big Valley Christian will face Escalon at Atwater at 5 p.m.

At Buhach Colony, Livingston opens the tournament against Gregori at 5 p.m. The Thunder play Manteca at 8 p.m.

The semifinals will be played at both sites at 8 p.m. on Friday night, with the championship game scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Looking at the brackets, the two Atwater schools should meet each other in the finals.

The Falcons went 2-2 at last week's Modesto City Classic, including an overtime win over Lathrop.

"I can't ask the kids to play any harder," Hillyer said. "They played really hard in Modesto."

Le Grand, Ripon Christian and Waterford split the Southern League football championship three ways.

The three teams also split the SL's major awards.

Knights running back Andrew Brown was named the Southern League MVP by the league coaches.

Le Grand's Roman Hernandez was picked as the Outstanding Lineman.

Waterford running back Dylan Gonzalez was picked as the league's Outstanding Back.

Le Grand's Rick Martinez, Waterford's Todd Sevick and Ripon Christian's John Vander Schaaf were named the Co-Coaches of the Year.

Le Grand landed five players on the all-SL team in Ryan Martinez, Dustin Slate, Daniel Rosas, Mauricio Contreras and Christian Williams.

They were joined on the team by Mariposa's Jason Scherf, Delhi's Ryan Saavedra and Joseph Cantu and Gustine's Isaiah Figueroa.

Dos Palos' Juan Jimenez was named a top underclassmen by the West Sierra League football coaches.

MVP honors went to Coalinga running back Ryan Vasquez.

Dos Palos' Izzac Suarez, Ryan Willis, Vic Barron, Jesus Cardoza and Jimenez were named to the all-WSL first team.

The Broncos had five players earn second-team honors in Noah Croninger, Diego Mandujano, Andrew Hall, John Straughter and Adam Corondao.

The Le Grand girls had two players named to the all-Southern League volleyball team in Marissa Marchini and Savanna Barnett.

Ripon Christian's Andie Shelton was selected as the SL MVP.

The Mariposa trio of Krissy Schellentrager, Clair Bullis and Carissa Leonard were all named to the first team along with Gustine's Adriana Moitozo.

Delhi's Erik Tapia was picked as the Southern League MVP after helping lead the Hawks to a co-SL soccer title this fall.

Delhi's Armando Salazar and Gustine's Oscar Martinez were named Co-Coaches of the Year.

Delhi's David Zamora, Rafael Macias, Ismael Udave and Pedro Arellano earned all-SL honors.

They were joined on the team by Le Grand's Daniel Rosas and Salvador Moreno and the Gustine trio of Alejandro Fernandez, Reginaldo Reynoso and Daniel Sousa. Mariposa's Guy Yager and Alonso Montalvo also were named to the all-league team.

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