Players on the Foothill High basketball team had plenty of motivation this offseason.
The Falcons led Coronado by double digits at halftime of last season’s Sunrise Region championship game, but couldn’t hold the advantage in a season-ending defeat. Being minutes away from the state tournament was a constant reminder to train harder.
“Coach brings it up a lot so we can’t forget,” said Marvin Coleman, Foothill’s standout senior guard. “For us players, it makes us more hungry. It motivates us. We have been playing hard through the summer and fall. We don’t plan on losing again.”
With returning seniors Marvin Coleman and Jace Roquemore leading the way, the Falcons like their chances this winter. Not only are the duo Foothill’s top players, they are two of the best in the area. And, each will be three-year starters.
Coleman, part of the Sun’s Super Seven preseason team, averaged 15 points and seven assists per game last season. Roquemore averaged 10 points.
“These guys know exactly what to do,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said. “A lot of the time they are calling out their own stuff.”
But, by no means, are they Foothill’s only weapons. It returns seven starters, including guard Michael Shaw, and have a solid bench with a core group of players from last year’s junior varsity team which went 19-3.
“We have to defend. That is one of the primary things we try to focus on and we will focus on,” Soares said. “We have to be able to guard and we have to keep people out of the paint. If we can do that, we will have a good shot at winning our region.”
Coronado, which hasn’t lost a Southeast League game in three seasons, is again considered the team to beat. Foothill and Coronado will meet twice in the regular season, and likely again in the playoffs.
“It is the tradition, the rivalry between the both of us,” Shaw said. “Both teams want to beat each other bad for the bragging rights. That is the team we need to beat.”
Foothill has won its initial two games, including a 76-67 against Palo Verde in last week’s season opener. Coleman led the way with 20 points.