One can tell that the Cathedral City Lions are listening to new head basketball coach Justin Sobczyk.
Well, at least from an offensive vantage, the Lions appeared a little too mechanical and favored reaction over proactivity in their 49-46 loss to Cabrillo High (Lompoc) in the secondary host school’s opening game of the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational on Tuesday afternoon.
Sobczyk, a 2008 graduate of Palm Desert who spent the past five seasons as an Aztecs’ assistant coach (under Don Brady and then Jim Serven, respectively), is working to instill his alma matter’s long-respected culture of highly-disciplined basketball at his new home.
“We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet,” said Sobczyk. “Defensively we’re fine, and, on offense, when we do run our sets well, there are good results. That’s a team (Cabrillo) that scores 75 or 80 points a game and we hold them to 49. Generally, the rule of thumb is you hold a team under 50 and you usually win. But we played selfishly on offense in spurts, so it’s hit or miss right now.”
Competing in the tournament’s Gear to the Max Division versus a Cabrillo (10-1) team which entered the day winners of six straight, Cathedral City (5-5) fell for the fourth time in the past five games after opening the season 3-0.
After heading to the fourth quarter down nine points, the Lions outscored the visitors 13-7 in the final salvo and put forth the sort of pluck which will no doubt serve them well come league season.
“The whole goal is to be ready to play come DVL, and I think playing this level of competition is going to be good for us and we’ll get better through this tournament,” Sobczyk added.
Senior Kavonte Kinney paced the hosts with a team-high 16 points, while junior guard Timothy Miller added a dozen more for the Lions. In the win, Cabrillo was led by a game-high 20-point performance from Leandrew Knight.
READ MORE: Tuesday’s results, Wednesday’s schedule
Pressing forth in the tournament and the season, Cathedral City’s new front man won’t mind similar scoreboards, only, of course, those with a different outcome.
“I want every team we play to go away from the game, whatever the outcome may be, saying, ‘Dang, that team plays really hard; those guys play their butts off,’” Sobczyk concluded. “I want to be known as a defensive program that grinds their teeth, and I’d love to win games 42-40 every night, rather than 85-80. I’d rather dig in. And once we get there with our offensive sets, we’re going to be dangerous, because we do have the tools, we do have the kids.”
The Lions have a quick turnaround for their second game of the event, hosting Liberty High (Brentwood) at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Cabrillo 49, Cathedral City 46
CABRILLO (49) (FG FT-FTA-TP) Beecher 2 0-0 6, Knight 8 4-8 20, Tyler 4 3-7 11, Everett 1 0-0 2, Ross 2 4-4 8, Hicks 1 0-0 3. Totals 18-11-19-49.
CATHEDRAL CITY (46) (FG-FT-FTA-TP) Wallace 3 3-5 8, Miller 5 0-1 12, Kinney 5 6-9 16, Toussaint 2 0-0 6, Diliberto 1 0-0 2. Totals 22-9-20-55.
Cabrillo 14 14 14 7 – 49
Cathedral City 14 7 12 13 – 46
3-Point Goals— Cabrillo – 3 (Beecher 2, Hicks 1), Cathedral City – 5 (Miller 2, Toussaint 2, Wallace 1) Fouled Out— Cathedral City, Kinney.