Last season, the goals were simple for the Antelope boys basketball team, its first with a senior class. The Titans wanted to challenge for a league title and reach the playoffs.
They did that and more in finishing 27-7, sharing the Capital Athletic League title with Cordova and reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II final and CIF Northern California Regional semifinals.
Now expectations have soared.
So far, the No. 5 Titans have met the challenge. They are 16-1 after Monday's 60-46 win over neighborhood rival and No. 13 Center in the finale of the fifth annual Common Good Classic at Antelope.
"You look at this year's squad and the things we lacked last year playoff experience and size we now have," Antelope coach Rob Richards said.
Senior guards Jarvis Watkins, Caleb King and Kei'Shaun Sinclair are three-year varsity starters with strong basketball IQs.
Richards says 6-foot-6 junior center Isaiah Ellis has improved "leaps and bounds" over last season, and combined with Jesuit transfer Gabe Bealer, a 6-5 junior forward, Antelope has the post presence it once lacked.
"With Gabe, we have a 6-5 shooter who can hit the three if the other team tries to cover him with a post," Richards said. "Or we can run some sets where we put Isaiah 18 feet from the basket and have Gabe post up if a guard is trying to defend him."
Pacers beat "System" Grant had a monster night in defeating Davis 109-101 and its new uptempo format in the Delta Valley Conference opener Jan. 11.
The Pacers shot 72 percent from the field with leading scorer De'Sean Parsons (15 of 17 field goals) finishing with 34 points against the Blue Devils' frenetic style called "The System."
While the combined 210 points are an area season high, they are far from a record.
According to Cal-Hi Sports' Mark Tennis, the state record for combined points is 243 (North Torrance's 129-114 win over Lawndale in 2006). The NorCal record is 238 (Balboa of San Francisco's 156-82 win over John O'Connell of San Francisco in 1993).
The NorCal record for two teams scoring 100 points in the same game is 237 (Balboa's 128-109 win over Skyline of Oakland in 1995).
Davis rebounded since the loss to Grant. The Blue Devils beat Laguna Creek 93-82 on Friday and then Cordova 73-70 in a defensive battle at Monday's Common Good Classic.
Huskies are No. 1 With its convincing 88-70 win over Jesuit, Sheldon takes over The Bee's No. 1 spot, and supplants the Marauders from that position for the first time this season.
Sheldon, the two-time Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, will play only its third home game of the season Friday. The Huskies face Ponderosa (8-10) in a Delta River League game.
Ranked No. 2 this week in Northern California by NorCalPreps.com, Sheldon will play defending CIF D-III NorCal champion Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland at 6 p.m. Saturday at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
Mighty Metro Fourth-ranked Sacramento, coming off Monday's 62-43 loss to NorCal No. 1 Salesian of Richmond, faces two tough Metro Conference games this week. Tonight, the first-place Dragons travel to No. 19 Valley, then host No. 11 and co-Metro leader Kennedy on Friday.
Valley moved into the rankings after upsetting then-No. 6 Burbank 48-45 Friday.