Atwater basketball more than just Peterson

sjansen@mercedsunstar.comDecember 5, 2012 

MS athlete of week

MARCI STENBERG/ Athlete of the Week Ben Peterson Atwater High School


ATWATER -- In his first four games Atwater High junior Ben Peterson scored 31, 22, 18 and 37 points.

It's no secret he's going to be the Falcons No. 1 scoring option this year.

Peterson is going to score his points. However, the Falcons' success this year will ride heavily on how much Atwater's supporting cast can contribute.

"In the games we won we had four players in double-figures," said Atwater's first-year coach Tony Hillyer. "Hector (Rodriguez) is my point guard. He can shoot. (Josh) Heller, my small forward, can shoot the 3. Daniel Motz is one of my seniors; he can shoot the 3. Anthony (De la Hoya) is tenacious on defense and he can shoot.

"I feel I've got weapons. Everybody thinks Ben, Ben, Ben, but I think that can be a good thing. I think that will open things up for everybody else. If we can knock down shots we're going to make defenses have to choose whether they're going to double-team Ben or guard outside."

The Falcons have only three seniors on the roster, but Hillyer likes that he takes over a young team. It's a young team looking for wins.

Atwater is just 11-43 the last two years, including 2-28 in the CCC.

"We're young, I love that," Hillyer said. "Our guys go after it. They want to win. We're hungry.

"They've won 11 games the last two years. They've put in the time. They want to start winning.

"I expect to win double-digit games this year. I'd like to say we're going to win 15 games and make the playoffs. It's been over 10 years since Atwater has made the playoffs."

Building a program with Peterson is a good start. There aren't many big men in the area that can match Peterson's strength and footwork.

"He's such a presence in there," Hillyer said. "I like that he's strong, I like his work ethic and he's coachable.

"With Ben, you're going to get 100 percent all the time. He's not going to give you anything less. You can see it in his face, he wants to win."

Here's a look at the other local leagues:

Western Athletic Conference

Central Catholic is the heavy favorite in the WAC with Raiders center John Fenton, who is headed to Colgate.

Los Banos is off to a rough 0-5 start. The Tigers are led by guards Issac Ruiz and Delvonte Moore.

Pacheco lost its opener. The Panthers are led by Edgar Iglesias, who scored 12.5 points last season. Daniel Marquez, Kakhan Patel and Brandon Shoals should contribute.

Livingston has won its first three games and the Wolves will count on Brian Perez and Sean Brunelle.

Trans-Valley League

Last year the TVL closed the gap on Modesto Christian. This year, the Crusaders will run away with the league with a talented roster.

Hilmar could finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. Sophomore Demsen McFaddin averaged 13.3 points as a freshman last year.

Southern League

Ripon Christian is again the favorite in the SL after going undefeated last year.

Mariposa is off to a 2-1 start as they head to the Save Mart Classic this week. J.T. Lettmann is averaging 11.5 points in the first three games.

Le Grand returns Mauricio Contreras, who made 40 3-pointers on his way to scoring over 10 points a game last year.

Central California Athletic Association

Stone Ridge Christian has struggled early, going 0-6 to start the year. Jesse Johnston is averaging 16.2 points for the Knights.

Central Section

Chowchilla returns a lot from its team that advanced to the Division 4 semifinals last year. Aaron Deatherage, DeVaughn Gaines and Sean Kinsley lead a talented team that could be ready to make another deep run.

Dos Palos is off to an 0-4 start, but Andre Hall is averaging 23 points per game.

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