Published February 28th, 2024
Continued success for Campolindo, and major turnaround for Miramonte boys basketball
By Jon Kingdon
With no returning player that had scored in double figures and the loss of starting point guard Tyler Bergren to a season ending injury, Campolindo head coach Steven Dyer was at best cautiously optimistic about the team's prospects allowing that though this team was the "most inexperienced team I've had at Campolindo with a chance to be pretty good," offering the proviso that "we just have to make progress every week."
Dyer would go deep into his roster all season, having 11 players that appeared in at least 20 games and finished the season with a 22-8 record (9-3 in league play) and making it to the second round of the NCS Division I playoffs. Dyer spoke highly about the team's overall performance. "We had a lot of guys that have won at lower levels, and that translated to the next level," Dyer said. "We didn't necessarily have the players with flashy stats as we've had in the past, but we had a true team with guys buying into their roles. This has been one of my favorite teams to coach because there's been no drama and all the guys have been fun to coach. Guys just came ready to work and it's been really rewarding."
Stepping up on offense were seniors Dylan Mansour (13.9/+6.2) and Tim Smith (+9.8/+9.1) and junior Gavin Rendle (11.1/+9.5), all increasing their scoring averages. Smith also increased his rebounds per game from 0.7 last season to 7.0. "Tim made a ton of progress from last year by working incredibly hard. He would stay after practice and work extra on his game and it was a day and night difference from last year," Dyer said.
Despite so many new players on the varsity, it was a roster that came up learning the Dyer system on the Campolindo freshmen and JV teams. Once again, the Cougars' signature was the play of its defense, only giving up 47.5 points per game, holding two teams under 22 points. "Our younger players have used the same system we use on varsity, so it was just a matter of learning how to do it at the varsity level playing against better guys, and it just takes a lot of work to be good defensively," Dyer said. "Our freshmen coach Nicky Aikawa and JV coach Spenser McDonald do a great job in preparing these guys to move up to the varsity and it's not as hard for me to demand they play defense because it's already been demanded at the lower level."
After last season's 5-22 record, Miramonte was ranked 603 out of 605 California schools. Head coach Chris Lavdiotis made it clear what needed to happen this season. "We determined what we need to do to get better and then put it in the rearview mirror."
The Matadors improved their record to 19-12, won their first two NCS playoff games before losing to the No. 1 seeded University High School, jumping up 378 spots, finishing the year ranked 225 in the state. The team scored 15 more points and gave up six fewer points per game than last season.
"This was a great season with a tremendous group of kids that were dedicated and committed to working together," Lavdiotis said. "The kids earned everything they got. There were a lot of doubters and we proved them wrong. From top to bottom, this was one of the best groups of kids I've coached."
Nine of the players improved their scoring averages this season led by seniors Marcus Robinson (+4.8), Thomas Zwahlen (+3.3), Chris Kaufhold (+2.8) and junior Jack Quinnild (+4.7). The team converted 70% of their foul shots, assisted on 73% of their baskets and improved their assist to turnover ratio.
"It was little things like that," Lavdiotis said. "Our guys made a concerted effort to really play well together, and their attitudes were wonderful and that's why it was so hard to have the season end."
Lavdiotis and his staff also put the effort in off the court. "We watched a lot of videos, and our team was always prepared so that nothing any of our opponents did surprised us," Lavdiotis said. "We did have a bad two minutes in the third quarter against University, where things fell apart and that was the game which was so unfortunate."
Despite losing six of their top eight scorers to graduation, a number of underclassmen got substantial minutes. "We will lose a lot of players but it's how we're developing our next wave of players," Lavdiotis said. "A lot of our underclassmen got a lot of valuable experience, so we'll be good next season."

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