The varsity boys have won their division title. Now it’s a whole different season as they start their pursuit for the regional title.
“(It’s) one and done,” head coach Dave Ancrum said. “You lose, you’re on vacation.”
The second-seeded Cavaliers (26-4) aim to avoid vacation a little while longer when they host the seventh-seeded California School for the Deaf (CSD) on Wednesday, March 11.
In preparation for the game, freshman Jayce McCain emphasized the team’s need to focus on defense.
The Cavs allowed 85 points against Valley Christian, and the team doesn’t want that to happen again, he said. Their goal is to hold opponents to under 50 points.
Along with defense, the boys are working on taking care of the ball and rebounding, Ancrum said.
Though this is simply another game, McCain admitted the team is a little nervous to play against a deaf team.
Though he doesn’t have experience with their basketball team, volleyball coach Jason Kreps does have experience with CSD, as he coached against their volleyball team 10 years ago when he worked at the Athenian School.
“The game’s different because you have a different mentality going in knowing that most can’t hear completely,” Kreps said.
But, he said, it is just like any other game. “You realize they’ve earned their spot and they’re just as competitive as we are.”
Ancrum realizes this, too. He said the Eagles have earned the privilege to be in the regional bracket.
“They’re going to be tough,” he said.
Ancrum said he’s coached against a similar team, and the difference was their use of sign language.
Kreps added that some players communicate through lip reading.
Playing against CSD is going into the unknown, but that can’t be a distraction, Kreps said.
“You’ve just go to go and play your game.”
McCain knows that.
“(We have to) keep the mindset that we’ve had the whole year,” he said. “We have to set our minds and go as hard as we can.”
Ancrum agrees. “We’re not taking anything for granted at all,” he said.
Kreps said that he remembers the CSD fans using bass drums to cheer so that their players could hear the vibrations.
If they bring their drums on Wednesday, the Cavs will especially need their own fans in this first round of regional play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11.