The Tiller varsity squad after taking first place in the Tustin/Estancia tournament.
By: Katelyn Merrell and Abigail Pidazo
With league beginning today, this year’s Tustin High varsity basketball team hopes to deliver an unforgettable season. During an interview with some of the basketball players, they spoke about team goals and expectations for the 2014-2015 season. The basketball boys are ready to “ball out” this season, and are not looking to settle for anything other than being the best.
Two significant players to keep an eye out for are transfers Myles Garvin and Cody Kuzay.
Myles Garvin (#44) is entering his first year at Tustin High as a senior who transferred from Tustin’s biggest rival–Foothill High School. When asked about his reason behind transferring Garvin explained, “ I just thought the Tustin basketball team would be a better atmosphere for me and that Tustin High School is just a better place for me to fit in. And I like my decision so far. It’s a great team.” Referring to Myles’ sports related character, Coach Bossenmeyer says that, “he has been able to provide an inside presence we were lacking a lot last year.” Like Coach Boss said, Myles is a presence on the inside possessing good size, a strong build and strength, and the intelligence to make the right plays in critical moments.
Cody Kuzay (#21), a current junior on varsity, transferred from Servite High School to Tustin High School this year. Last year, he played on Servite’s junior varsity basketball team as a point guard. This year he plays point guard on Tustin’s varsity squad. Coach Boss compares playing the point guard position to that of playing quarterback in football. Cody proved to be a contributing player at last week’s game against Foothill High School. He is expected to be a vital player this year and next year.
Another player to look out for on the court is TJ Shorts (#5). According to OC Varsity, TJ is considered to be “one of the top returning players in the county,” and was named their Athlete of the Week on December 29. TJ has had three years of varsity experience, including getting moved up to varsity his freshman year. This being his last year, TJ says, “It feels good, like as a family. We’re all united once again like Freshman year. I wouldn’t want to be playing with anybody else other than my brothers. So it just warms my heart that I can finish my last year with these guys.”
George Wilson and Aramie Faletoi, two varsity football star players, traded cleats for Jordans. Aramie Faletoi hopes to see their team go further into the playoffs than the football team did. George Wilson, verbal Utah commit, expresses that he’s still hungry for a third CIF ring, and has high hopes for going deep into playoffs this year. Both players are starters who have earned two honors: a football CIF ring freshman year and a basketball CIF ring sophomore year.
Out of 15 basketball players, three are Juniors: Cody Kuzay(#21), Deon Faaseu (#12), and Josh DeBest (#3). Despite the age gap, Josh expressed, “I already have experience from last year so this year isn’t any different. I feel comfortable playing with them.” Josh moved up to varsity at the end of his freshman year when the team made it to CIF, and was the 6th man his sophomore year getting a decent amount of playing time. Due to the sad event of senior starter Alex Lezama tearing his ACL, Josh takes his place on the starting line-up.
For the team, atmosphere on and off the court is sensational. The players consider each other brothers. Eian Labastida says, “When we bring it in, we bring it in as a family.” Deon added, “We push each other to get better.” This combination of brotherhood and encouraging each other to improve is a key component of the Tiller’s future success.
Some of the preparation for the season includes: waking up early to put up shots in the gym, three hour practices, 16’s, 220’s and even staying after school to put in extra work to get better. With all their hard work the boy’s basketball team hopes to attract many fans to their student section, also referred to as “The Barn.” In future appearances from “The Barn,” Sterling Ardey-Baty advises students, “Have your cellphones out because there are going to be some highlights!”
Over the course of two weeks, basketball took part in Corona Del Mar’s Beach Bash tournament. The Tillers went undefeated until facing their final opponent for the championship — Mater Dei. They placed second in the tournament. Even with a disappointing loss to a top notch team, the Tiller varsity squad is still extremely confident in their ability to have a successful season. They’ve already proven themselves by taking first place in the Tustin/Estancia tournament, and by “tilling the hill” against Foothill High School. The varsity squad is currently on a six game winning streak in the chase for the Empire League title.
Roster of Boy’s Basketball Varsity Squad:
Sterling Ardey-Baty #1
Josh DeBest #3
Grayson Hubbard #4
TJ Shorts #5
Adrian Allison #10
Deon Faaseu #13
Cody Kuzay #21
Aramie Faletoi #22
Eian Labastida #23
George Wilson #24
Alex Lezama #32
Rehan Bokhari #33
Kyle Herring #35
Zach Cobb #41
Myles Garvin #44