By Ray Hamill — After graduating eight seniors from last year’s team, the Fortuna Huskies will feature a very different roster in boys basketball this winter, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a fun group to watch.
The new-look Huskies are young, and while they have just minimal varsity experience on the roster, they’re also a fast, athletic group with a big upside.
After a loss in their foundation game at Cloverdale last week, the Huskies fared better in their first official game of the season on Monday, getting the better of Hoopa 63-43.
“We’re not big, but we’re athletic and we’re pretty quick, and (against Hoopa) we defended pretty well,” head coach Norm Sotomayor said.
Key to the Huskies’ success this year will be the play of senior point guard Omar Alvarado, who is back with the team for the first time in two years because of injury.
And Sotomayor is excited to have one of his chief playmakers back.
“We expect him to control what’s going on out on the floor,” the coach said.
Big things are also expected out of Jordin Bourne, who scored nine points in just half a game against against the Warriors and will be one of the team’s main offensive threats.
The young roster also features two starting sophomores — Alfonso Medina and Russell Pascascio — each of whom appear up to the task early in the season after scoring 12 points apiece to lead the way on Tuesday.
“They’re both very good athletes,” the head coach said. “We’re going to count on our sophomores to do some special things for us.”
The coach admits, however, that a young roster is still a work in progress and has a ways to go.
“(Against Cloverdale) we struggled a little bit, but we’re young,” he said. “And (against Hoopa) we put some things together and got a little bit better on the defensive end. But we still struggled with turnovers.
“For leadership I’m really hoping that some of my seniors will step up.”
Sotomayor, in just his second year in charge of the varsity team, is the only returning head coach in the Big 5, and he expects that unusually large turnover to have an effect on the league.
“With all the coaching turnover, it’s really hard to say what’s going to happen,” he said. “I took over last year and any time you have a new coach taking over there’s always a learning curve.
“But once these coaches figure it out, I think it’s going to be a pretty balanced league.”
Dylan Moorehead also scored nine points in Tuesday’s win, while RJ Rexford had seven rebounds and three steals, and Pascasio added seven rebounds.
The Huskies will play at the St. Helena Tournament this weekend, opening against the host school on Thursday.