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Guards pointing the way

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunTruckee point guard Jason Chapman drives to the hoop in practice Monday as Mike Lopez and Alfredo Oropeza defend. A transfer from Ukiah, Chapman is leading the team with 19.75 points per game.
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Four games deep into the 2005-06 high school basketball season the Wolverines are flickering with championship potential.

Add talent, team chemistry and a will to win and, like Truckee head coach Keith Crawford said, “The sky is the limit for these guys.

“As a whole, they are as focused as a team can be. They want to make playoffs and win a state championship.”

The Wolverines will pursue their goal with a starting core comprised of four guards, with three on the point, and one big man down low.

Seniors Chris Peeden, John Hooper and Jason Chapman make up the point guard position, depending each time down the floor on who receives the inbound pass, Crawford said. Senior Brandon Peterson fits in as the fourth guard ” a shooting guard who helps junior post player Cory Hoehn grapple under the bucket for rebounds.

Coming off a 3-1 start to the season, with the only loss to 4A North Valleys last weekend, the formula seems effective.

“It’s awesome,” Chapman said of Crawford’s offensive scheme. “With the athletes we have, it’s the best offense we could possibly run. It gives everybody freedom.”

Peterson, who is averaging 16.5 points and has increased his scoring output each game, is sold on the offense, as well.

“I like the fact that there’s three point guards,” he said. “There’s more ball handlers on the floor. It takes pressure off me.”

About the team as a whole, “To tell you the truth, I like what I see,” Peterson said.

With the addition of Chapman, who at 6-foot with quick feet and an accurate shot is averaging a shade under 20 20points per game, and Hoehn, who at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds is grabbing about eight rebounds per game, the Wolverines think they’re a better team than the one a year ago.

“We’re definitely better, athletic-wise,” Crawford said. “With more athletes on the team it allows us to get out and run a little more. Thus far, we’ve definitely established ourselves as a running team.”

The Wolverines’ stifling defense has maximized opportunities to run the floor, creating havoc among opposing offenses and forcing turnovers that have resulted in fast-break points. And while some of the team’s sharp shooters are still dialing in their touch, everybody is playing good defense, Crawford said.

“We have a really good team, with good chemistry,” Hoehn said. “I think we can go far, probably make playoffs. That’s my goal.”

However far the team goes, the big man should figure in to its success. So should Chapman, a transfer who moved to Truckee from Ukiah this year.

“I got a Christmas gift when he showed up on campus,” Crawford said of Chapman, the team’s leading scorer. “He is an all-around good player and he brings intensity on the defensive end.”

The second-year coach is also counting on Hooper, a 6-foot-2-inch returning starter who has yet to find his shot from outside, Crawford said. Peeden has played a large role in Truckee’s defensive prowess, but Crawford said he expects more offensive production from his point guard as the season progresses.

Mike Lopez, Alfredo Oropeza and Kyle Steverman round off the list of seniors on the team. All came straight from football, as did junior guard Drew Stewart, who was a member of last year’s starting crew.


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