Cathedral City Lions sprint to second MaxPreps victory

Cathedral City Lions sprint to second MaxPreps victory

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Cathedral City Lions sprint to second MaxPreps victory

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CATHEDRAL CITY

First-year Cathedral City High School boys’ basketball coach Sky Wilson says his team has a long way to go to get where he would like to see them.

But so far the Lions are off to a hot start, improving to 9-2 on the season after a lopsided 80-50 victory over Sierra Pacific on Friday at Cathedral City High School on the second day of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.

Cathedral City defeated Patriot 47-44 on Thursday.

The Lions took full advantage of a short-handed Sierra Pacific squad, who were playing with just six players due to discipline reasons. Cathedral City jumped out to a 9-0 opening lead and went on a 12-0 run in the second quarter to take a commanding 34-12 advantage.

Wilson said his coaching staff did a good job preparing for the game.

“We had a chance to scout Sierra Pacific on Thursday at Palm Valley so that benefitted us,” Wilson said. “Our guys did a good job with their offensive execution, and the fact that we had a couple more bodies and were able to put some pressure on them and wear them down a little bit helped us.”

Chris Grenier and Dino Gegic helped spark a 13-3 run in the beginning of the second half that put the Lions ahead 59-29 and spoiled any comeback for Sierra Pacific. Grenier had a game-high 17 points, while Gegic was on fire from downtown, scoring 16 points as he connected on four 3-pointers.

“My teammates were getting me open, and I was feeling it, and they were going down,” Gegic said.

Wilson, a former collegiate player and a standout at La Quinta High School from 1997-2000, says the 9-2 record is deceiving.

“We played some solid teams, but at the end of the day, we’re happy with our start, but we have so much room for improvement. We have to continue working on our fundamentals because good teams will expose us on both ends of the floor. Our kids are buying into that, and we want to be playing our best ball at the end of January and in February.”

Darien Broom and Jamal Holdman also scored in double figures with 11 points apiece for Cathedral City.

Holdman says he enjoys learning from a former successful player like Wilson.

“I like the experience he’s bringing us from his college days,” Holdman says. “He’s showing us how to play at that next level, which has a much faster pace. He’s a good coach that’s all about discipline. He keeps us on task, and he wants us to do what we have to do at full speed even if we make mistakes.”

Though he knows it will take time, Wilson has a big goal for his basketball program.

“I’m very familiar with the Desert Valley League and Cathedral City,” Wilson said. “When I was here playing, Cathedral City was kind of a powerhouse. The challenge for me is to get this program back to those standards. It’s a large tradition.”

The Lions host Godinez at 6 p.m. on Saturday for a chance to advance to the championship.

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