Buhach Colony aims to win CCC title this season

slynch@mercedsun-star.comDecember 5, 2012 

ATWATER -- A sheet of paper hangs from the north wall of the Thunderdome every practice.

There's a number of things printed on it, including inspirational or funny quotes, team goals for the day and season, and a 1 to 10 rating system of the Buhach Colony High boys basketball team's performance in the previous practice.

"Hustle/Relentlessness," "enthusiasm/team unity" and "defense/attacking boards" all are judged, with head coach John Bliss reluctant to give out high marks.

"A good day is usually fives and sixes," senior guard Joe Marquez said. "The goal is obviously 10s, but I've only seen a couple in my whole career."

The paper on the wall serves as a constant reminder that one good day doesn't guarantee another.

Buhach Colony learned all about that last season.

A pair of losses in a five-day span knocked the Thunder from atop the Central California Conference standings. They never recovered, finishing a game behind league champ Golden Valley.

With 10 returners -- including leading scorer Marquez -- and a healthy Aaron Cochran to play the middle, BC is looking to finish what it started last season.

"Our team still thinks about letting it get away," senior forward Roger Klauser said. "It motivates us everyday.

"As long as we come ready to work hard everyday, we believe we can get where we want to go."

Buhach certainly appears to have all the pieces in place.

Marquez, Stephen Hillyer and Jared Bliss comprise a trio of formidable shooters.

Tyler Dew and Marquez also give the Thunder good slashing options.

And few can match the frontcourt of Cochran, Klauser and Kaden Verdin.

"I think everybody is really excited about the options in front of us," Bliss said. "We still have plenty of work in front of us, but I like my team.

"Anytime you have experience under your belt and a little bit of understanding, it's a big advantage.

"Not only have most of them played together for at least three years, we played 70 AAU games together this summer."

Bliss expects the CCC to be improved across the board this season, but the Thunder certainly have to be considered among the favorites.

It's a pleasant change of pace for a school that's typically only had those kinds of expectations associated with its football program.

"I always thought we had the potential; I guess other people are just starting to take notice too," Marquez said. "We're confident entering the season, but we haven't won anything yet.

"We have to come ready to give maximum effort everyday and we'll see what happens."

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