Any time you win locally, you’re going to turn some heads. When you win the prestigious Harlan Carter Invitational, that’s quite the way to start the season.
Foothill High’s boys basketball team went 4-0 on its opening week of the season, taking down U-Prep before capturing a second straight Harlan Carter Invitational title to be named the Tri Counties Bank Boys Basketball Team of the Week for Week 1.
Four wins in five days is how the talented Cougars started the year. It started with a win over the reigning Northern Section Division IV champion U-Prep, which Foothill head coach Bill Elliott said could be the second-best team in the Northern Section behind Pleasant Valley. It was a grueling and foul-plagued affair where Foothill had three starters foul out but the Cougars came out on top 66-59. The shorthanded win allowed Foothill to dig into its bench and find out what kind of depth it had early on in the season.
Then came the Harlan Carter — no game is an easy out, especially playing unfamiliar teams from out of the area. Foothill dismantled Mazama of Klamath Falls, Ore., 78-57 in a game where 10 of Foothill’s 11 players who saw the court scored. In the semifinals, Foothill got up on Sac-Joaquin Section mainstay Placer to run away with a 78-57 victory thanks to a 23-point effort from Luke Lindsey. Again, though, 11 of 12 players to check into the game scored.
In the Harlan Carter final, Foothill took down Enterprise on the Hornets’ home court 61-56, using a big second quarter to keep it close at halftime before going on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth to get ahead for good. It wasn’t like the earlier game in terms of the entire team scoring but four players ended up in double figures and another had nine. What was more impressive was the rebounding and second-chance points Foothill was able to execute on. When the shots weren’t falling as often as they have been, the Cougars didn’t give up on the hustle plays, which led them to victory.
Three players were named to the all-tournament team with Bekdoo Lewis taking down tourney MVP honors while Luke Lindsey and Nick Dore were named to the all-tourney team.
“Every game we’re getting better,” said senior point guard Josiah Palumbo. “Starting with U-Prep we were at 5 percent capacity, then 10 percent, then 15 and 20. We’re just trying to progress every game.”
The Cougars only seem to get better as the year goes on under Elliott. And that’s a scary thing for opposing teams left on Foothill’s schedule.
Tri Counties Bank Boys Basketball Team of the Week
Week 1: Foothill Cougars
- State health directive ends chance for Northern Section fall football season
- EAL fall sport options shrinking, shifts more sports around
- NAL aligns football, volleyball with CIF calendar; submitting proposal to county health officials for individual sport guidelines
- The Northern Plan: How to play football and volleyball in counties not on the state watch list
- Northern Section ‘mountain schools’ pushing for fall football season