January 10, 2012

The way of the Warrior

Kevin McCarthy

In every season, a few prep basketball teams appear 'unannounced' so to speak, posting unexpectedly solid win/loss records. Valley Christian High of San Jose is doing just that so far in 2011-12.

photo of Valley Christian player

The Warriors stand 9-3 on the season, boasting a 9-1 pre-conference record before experiencing a bumpy West Catholic Athletic League beginning (a five point loss to St. Francis plus a nine-point defeat at the hands of Riordan). The Warriors have also posted a 5-1 neutral court record so the success hasn't been based on a slew of home contests..

Who saw this coming?

Most importantly, did Valley Christian Coach Marcus Martinez?

"It's tough to say but I'm definitely pleased," he offered. "The guys committed back in June and worked hard all summer. They bought into being a team and they care for each other and have each other's backs. Playing hard is the character of this group."

He added, "they're making us [the coaching staff] look good. This team is synergistic, with good captains and the right attitude. They are working for each other."

Martinez is emphasizing and implementing a certain culture among the Warriors.

"Any success is based on the culture that is happening and we are building one of toughness, character and integrity. We want a Valley Christian way of doing things so we high five everyone, we point after good passes, we have all four players sprinting to pick up a teammate. This is something we emphasized for about a week and no longer need to because it's now our way."

Martinez is assisted by Dominique Pennix. The pair played basketball together at Cal State Stanislaus and were roommates. Pennix was coaching at Vanden High in Fairfield when Martinez got the position at Valley Christian and a request went out for his friend to join him.

Here are the Valley Christian mainstays (with commentary from Martinez):

Warner, Sanchez and Lampkin are co-captains this season.