May 30, 2014

Coastside shocks the competition

Kevin McCarthy

From now on it has to be the Coastside Hoosiers even without the Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper characters, right?

photo of Rico Nuno

Over Saturday and Sunday, Coastside took down Golden City from San Francisco, Greenline from De La Salle, the Oakland Soldiers 16U squad, Elite 24 out of Portland, and All-Star Predators from Sacramento, plus Pasadena's BTI 49-46 in the finals, to take the top level championship Sunday in the Bay Area Memorial Day Classic.

This from a truly handful of players in and around the Half Moon Bay area.

The Soldiers contingent included Archbishop Mitty's 6-foot-8 Ben Kone, 6-foot-7 Ira Lee out of Sierra Canyon High, 5-foot-11 Chaminade High point Remy Martin plus a trio of Moreau Catholic High talents.

Coach John Parsons helmed Coastside, a squad which is part of a program he started a few years back and currently consists of six teams. What some thought might be a motley collection of surfers and boogie boarders instead proved to be basketball butt kickers.

Did Parsons anticipate the actual outcome?

“Not in my wildest dreams,” he responded. “If you asked anyone, they would say the odds were 300-1 against us.”

“We were constantly being overlooked and not taken seriously,” Parsons explained. “We don't have the flashiest uniforms or the high flying athletes so I don't think anyone took us as much of a challenge. When we were warming up for our semifinal game, the varsity coach came up and asked if we were in the 16 and under division because our guys were so much smaller.”

Opposing teams were sometimes perplexed as Coastside began rolling through their matchups.

One example from Parsons: “Late in the game, the Portland team refused to play for about two and a half minutes. We were in a zone because we were tired so they held the ball. Then, we went on an 8-0 run right after that.”

He continued, “Five of our guys played 90% to 95% of the minutes. We were minus two point guards and had just eight players, two of which were freshmen and they hardly played at all.”

6-foot-6 Rico Nuno, a 2014-er out of Half Moon Bay High, earned Most Valuable Player honors. According to Parsons, “Diablo Valley College got a steal [with Nuno]. He can dribble, pass and shoot and he has a high [basketball] IQ. Other coaches thought he was a DI prospect.”

Fellow Cougar 5-foot-9 Corey Cilia also played well per Parsons who said the backcourter is headed to UC Santa Cruz. 6-foot-7 senior-to-be Case DuFrane, the third prominent performer out of Half Moon Bay High, battled well inside with frontcourters who carried much more weight than his 185 pounds.

Yet another Cougar, 6-foot-3 sophomore Tommy Nuno (Rico's brother), played a prominent role. “He had to step up and run the point the entire weekend,” according to Parsons. “He always wanted to guard the other team's best player whether he was a point guard, shooting guard or forward. Tommy has a ton of potential and is extremely tough and versatile.”

Parsons’ prophetic message to his charges throughout the tournament was “do things the right way and you can do anything. We can't compete with teams one-on-one but we can play with anyone if we play hard and together. Our guys shared the ball and played their roles. It was a joy to watch them.”

After the victory over the Soldiers, Coastside adopted a manta of “we started from the bottom now we're here,” from a Drake song. That carried on until the buzzer sounded ending the win over BTI.

Hey, Jimmy Chitwood wasn't even needed.