Coming off an 0-10 league season the previous year, the Lancers have reclaimed one of the top spots with a 5-3 finish in a competitive Marmonte season.
This season’s team carries a lot of familiar faces, retaining 10 of the 12 players on the team from last year and 9 seniors taking up the majority of the experienced roster.
“Last year we hardly had a handful of seniors,” said coach Richard Endres. “But this year we’ve got a lot of senior leadership, as well as some younger players contributing.”
With the record of the varsity team taking a hit over the last few years, the senior leaders looked to restore the success lacking from the previous season.
“The boys tried to block out the disruptions off-court that are distracting,” Endres said. “I think they stayed focused, and they had a common goal.”
Being successful in an ultra-competitive league such as Marmonte is a large task, with powerhouse teams such as Oaks Christian and Calabasas showing strong performances this season. The Lancers managed to knock a game off each of them, slotting themselves between the Marmonte champions Coyotes and 3rd place finishing Lions.
The Lancers were able to show many strengths this season, from impressive outside shooting to senior Kyle Ludlow’s dominant rebounding. But one intangible strength seemed to stand out among the numbers.
“Our main strength was that we are all really close friends and we love to play together,” junior forward Justin Stanziano said. “Just having that close relationship with all your teammates makes the game so much easier.
The season was without its hiccups though, such as athletic junior guard Cole Whitman being sidelined for his varsity debut season with an ACL tear.
Injuries did not stop the Lancers from being successful throughout the season though, as the team finished with an 18-10 overall record.
The Lancer’s playoff hopes were dashed with a 1 point overtime loss to Schurr, but the success of the program as a whole leaves the varsity team in a good position for the future.
9 seniors played their final game of high school basketball in that Friday night loss. But their contributions, whether shown on the scoreboard or not, will be remembered with one of the most dramatic turnarounds for a program in Marmonte history.
Seniors guard Hunter Thorne will move on to playing college basketball at Whitworth University next winter. He led the Lancers this season in points per game and finished with 76 made three-pointers.
Lancers boys basketball went from the bottom of Marmonte League standings to one of the teams to beat in just one year. Although a first round playoff exit ended their season earlier than they would have liked, their effect on the future of basketball for Thousand Oaks will not be forgotten.