After a split on the Peninsula to open the Coast-North season, the Chabot men's basketball team strides into rivalry week with a big home game against district opponent Las Positas Wednesday night.
"It should be fun for the district to see both teams competing at a high level," says Chabot coach Keenan McMiller, whose team (8-10, 1-1) is a game behind conference co-leaders CCSF and Las Positas.
Las Positas coach James Giacomazzi, whose team improved to 13-3 overall and 2-0 in conference with a win over Ohlone on Friday, describes Chabot as a "very, very dangerous team – a young team that's coming together at conference time. Had a big win at Canada (Redwood City) on the road in Week 1, so we're gonna have to play good basketball."
McMiller expects his team to be extra motivated for its first conference home game, especially because players on Chabot and Las Positas teams know each other.
Last week, Chabot stunned Canada-Redwood City 75-64 and then fell to Foothill 66-53; not a bad split for those familiar with the history of the two opponents. But the Gladiators were unable to overcome a 20-point halftime deficit against Foothill. They were just 14 of 27 from the free-throw line and made just one 3-pointer. The trio of Jordan McGlory, Akili Daniels and Jabari Sweet combined for 33 points
"Foothill, you've got to be ready to play … In the second half we finally figured it out, but it was too much to come back from," McMiller says.
Sweet, who could pose a matchup problem for Las Positas, led Chabot against Canada with 21 points and eight rebounds. McClory had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, all on the defensive side. Kyle Brown added 13 points and seven boards. McMiller says the difference in the game was Chabot's defense, which held the Colts 16 points under their scoring average.
Indeed, Chabot is playing the kind of high-level defense McMiller promised when he walked in the door, but youth and a lack of a true point guard have contributed to the team's up-and-down tendencies.
McMiller feels if they can slow down Las Positas star Michael Hayes (24.1 ppg) in transition, the Gladiators can win.