Three different sets of five players subbed in every minute. Full court presses. Lots of 3-pointers. All of this for 32 minutes.
This is what the boys’ varsity basketball team will face when they take on the Valley Christian Lions in the championship game, Thursday, March 5, at 8 p.m. at Galt High School.
The Cavs have played the Lions twice this season with an 87-75 win at Sleep Train Arena and an 83-89 loss at Valley Christian.
Regarding the full court presses, head coach Dave Ancrum said he’s confident in the boys’ ability to handle pressure.
“I think it’s okay if (the Lions) press us,” he said.
But Valley Christian’s unique style of play can still be a challenge. They have the benefit of a fresh set of players on the court every 60 seconds.
Additionally, the frequent substitutions make it difficult to keep track of whom to guard on defense.
It’s hard, freshman starter Jayce McCain said, because “you were just guarding one guy 20 seconds ago, and then a new one comes in.”
“We have to talk a lot,” he said.
The Lions’ system keeps the Cavs from easily getting into a rhythm, McCain said.
“You keep stopping, and they have to sub every minute. It’s hard to get into the game.”
The Cavs are preparing slightly differently for this game because of Valley Christian’s style of play.
“We have to be ready for a little bit of everything,” Ancrum said.
The boys need to be in a little bit better shape, he said, and must make sure to limit the Lions to one shot, so “we can get out and run a little bit.”
McCain said the team must also get a hand up on Valley Christian’s shots.
Stopping the Lions’ offense can be hard, he said, and the Cavs sometimes rely too much on their own offense.
“(We) really have to focus on defense,” he said.
McCain said the boys are ready, but also nervous.
So is Ancrum.
And “I’m not even playing!” he said with a laugh.