A shot at history

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Skyler Furguiel, center, of Besant Hill attempts to drive past Scorpion defenders Charlie Brower, left, and Jake Maulhardt in the season-opener, with little success. © David Yamamoto/Acorn Newspapers

The Scorpions want to etch their names into the history book.Someone already landed on Plymouth Rock and walked on the moon, but no Camarillo High boys’ basketball team has ever won an outright Pacific View League championship.

The Scorpions shared a PVL title in 2007 with Oxnard and secured a Marmonte crown in 1989.

What about this year?

“ We want our own,” said second-year head coach Allan Sadowsky.

Camarillo shared first with Rio Mesa entering last winter’s regular-season finale at the Scorpions’ nest, but Joseph Soto and the Spartans earned the road victory to snare the league banner.

Coming off a 19-win campaign and one playoff victory, the Scorpions feel they’re ready to take the program to the next level.

“We want to do better than last year,” said Jake Maulhardt, a 6-foot-7 senior power forward. “You always want to improve. Our goal is to improve every day.”

Maulhardt shares the captaincy with teammates Conrad Kotake and Ardavan Seif.

A superstar wide receiver who’s leaning toward playing football at Boise State, Maulhardt is a physical, high-energy athlete on the hardwood.

Because the football season just ended, Maulhardt is still searching for his basketball rhythm on defense and with his self-professed “funky shot.”

“My shot hasn’t fully come back yet—not that I had a great shot before,” the senior said with a laugh.

Sadowsky said Maulhardt is an important player.

“He’s our team leader, vocally and physically,” the coach said.

“The junior varsity and froshsoph kids look up to him. He’s humble and down to earth. He’s a very hard worker.”

Maulhardt patrols the paint, but the Scorpions like to play at a fast tempo and run at all times.

Last year they were tall and lanky. This year, the Scorpions are shorter and more athletic.

“We have to run the ball to play to our strengths,” Maulhardt said. “We have to hit open shots and try to outrun teams. We feel we’re better conditioned than everyone else.”

Camarillo has lost Kotake for six weeks.

The senior combo guard tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Nov. 18 during the Scorpion football team’s playoff loss to San Luis Obispo.

He hopes to return to the court in time for league action in January.

Even while sidelined, Kotake sets a good example by showing up to every practice and cheering his teammates from the bench during games.

“I’m still part of the team even if I can’t play,” Kotake said. “If they need help, I’ll help them out any way I can.

“I’m sad I can’t play. But it’s part of the game. My teammates will step up.”

Guards Corbin Covey, a junior, and sophomore Jacob Alonzo are expected to log extra minutes with Kotake out.

Alonzo is the youngest varsity player, but the Scorpions think highly of the 5-foot-6 mighty mite. Sadowsky said Alonzo, MVP of the junior varsity squad in 2010-11, has the “best shot in the program.”

The young guard is looking forward to his first foray at the varsity level.

“ I think we’ll have good teamwork,” Alonzo said after Monday’s practice, one day before the team’s season-opening victory against Besant Hill.

Alonzo tries to bring intensity.

“The harder you go,” he said, “the more fun it is.”

Seif, a junior, and senior Joey Sander are important defensive forwards.

“They’re both big and physical,” Sadowsky said of Seif and Sander. “They guard other teams’ big men. They’re undersized, but they’re strong. They’re our defensive leaders.”

Seif has worked on improving his dribbling and outside shot.

While Camarillo likes to sprint on offense, there’s a strong emphasis on defense.

In recent practices, the squad’s worked on defensive rotations and weak-side defense.

Seif said all the Scorpions get along, which could go a long way toward winning a league title.

“We’ve got good chemistry,” the captain said. “We don’t care who scores. There are no selfish players. We work well together as a team.”

Sanders, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, is in his fourth year on the varsity squad.

Although he’s tall, Sanders excels slashing from the wing. He’s expected, however, to play big and help Maulhardt in the key.

Sanders has had his ups and downs in the past. The coach said the senior’s attitude has improved and that he’s become “more of a team player.”

Christian Contreras, Chris Bengtsson and Charlie Brower add depth to the backcourt.

Wes Beck and Drew Roberts are senior forwards.

It takes hard work to make history. The Scorpions are ready to carve out their own path.

“We can never rest,” Sadowsky said. “You can’t be satisfied with how you play. There’s always stuff to work on.”

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