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Hilmar boys look to rebound after tough year
Coach envisions a rebuilding season
Xavier Burke and Colton Duety block Chase Kindberg during practice on Wednesday at Hilmar High School. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

It was a bit of downward spiral year last season for the Hilmar High boys’ basketball team as they struggled with inexperience along with competing in one of the tougher leagues in the Trans Valley League.

As a young team with little basketball experience, the Yellowjackets were only able to post an 8-19 overall record along with a tie for last place in the TVL (1-11).

“Our best player halfway through the year broke his wrist and things were not good from there a bit of a down year,” Hilmar head coach Danny Freitas said. “It is a bit of a rebuilding year, were trying to get the program back up.”

With another youthful team, and the ‘Jackets season already underway and only seven names on the roster, they urgently await the arrival of six players from the football team, who will play on Saturday for the Section D-IV title.

“Were running with seven guys so far — that’s it, Freitas said. “It is just getting the guys and senior to help the other kids and help each other out. We were very low in every level with numbers and so we have to work with that.”

Of those individuals, Joseph Bello, Beau Balswick, and Robert Lindo should be immediate assets once plugged back in.

With five sophomores playing this year, and once more a very young squad, coach Freitas believes that this could be a good year as he sees the underclassmen seizing the varsity experience at an early stage to prepare for the approaching years.

“Again were not as strong or experienced as last year due to transferring or lack of playing ball,” Freitas added. “Their young and it’s a learning experience, as sophomores their playing bigger kids and it’s tougher competition as opposed to JV and they will understand how you can’t hide your weakness as opposed to JV and they will need to work on it.”

Along with working with what you have the ‘Jackets must face, at least for one more year, the powerhouse that is Modesto Christian—who will be moving to the MMC next year.

They know it won’t be an easy task to pull away with a .500 winning percentage but winning one more in the TVL this year will equal twice as many wins as the previous.

“Everyone is tough in the league, Modesto Christian obviously, they are ranked in state always and it’s their final year in the TVL so it will be a bit easier,” Freitas said. “It might be a long season for them, but in the long run they will all get the great experience and be able to improve upon the upcoming seasons. One of the most competitive leagues in the section.”

Hilmar will host Denair High at 6 p.m.  Wednesday.