High school basketball notes: Bella Vista coach faces balancing act

Published: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C

David Gonzalez loves coaching Bella Vista boys basketball.

But it can be a grind with the year-round demands plus having some athletic children deserving of attention.

This time of year, Gonzalez also coaches 8-year-old daughter Macie's recreation basketball team, the Hot Shots.

The former Roseville High School star – he was the Sierra Foothill League MVP and Bee All-Metro first team as a senior in 1985 – also shoots baskets whenever he can with 13-year-old son Grant, an Amateur Athletic Union player, and tosses the softball with Brooke, 14, a freshman pitcher at Granite Bay High. (David's younger sister, Kim, was a softball star at Roseville and Texas A&M.)

"I used to hear coaches talking about getting out of the game because of the time commitment and never thought much of it," Gonzalez said. "But this is the toughest time of the year.

"You want to coach your team up, but you also want to do the right thing with your kids and be involved with them, too."

It doesn't hurt that he has his father by his side as an assistant. Paul Gonzalez, a longtime boys basketball and girls softball coach who coached Dave and Kim at Roseville, was inducted last October into the Sacramento Area Coaches Hall of Fame.

David Gonzalez says it also helps that he has a determined, experienced and focused group of seniors – Tyler Berkness (11.4 points per game), Ahmad Smith (10.9 ppg), Dominic Driggs (9.4 ppg), Austin Hennen (8.6 ppg), Adam Ciszewski (8.0 ppg) and Zach D'Alesandro (7.6 ppg) – that yearns to be the first boys basketball team in school history to win three consecutive league titles.

The Broncos, 17-5 overall and 5-0 in the Capital Valley Conference, are looking to return to Sleep Train Arena. Last year, they lost in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals to eventual champion Antelope, but they'll be in D-I this season.

"They have really good chemistry," Gonzalez said of his players. "We have great balance, and they play really well together."

The Broncos begin the second round of league play Wednesday at No. 9 Del Campo.

Old freshmen? – Folsom boys coach Mike Wall thinks one reason more area freshmen are making varsity impacts is that some parents are starting their children later in school or even holding them back a grade to gain a competitive edge.

"So you have kids who are 15 and should be sophomores who are freshmen," Wall said.

Wall says his ninth-grade standout, point guard Jordan Ford, is a true freshman.

Scholarship kid? – Florin coach Larry Price thinks unsigned senior Daijah Joe-Smith, a four-year starter, will earn a Division I basketball scholarship before she leaves school.

"She really hasn't played a whole lot of basketball, and it wasn't until recently that she took to committing herself to the sport," Price said. "She is a three-sport player. She runs track, which she is very good in. And she plays volleyball. That took away from her (basketball) development. But she's getting looks. I expect her to sign."

Cougars grow up fast – Observers are amazed at how far a young Kennedy boys team has come in such a short time.

"I have to learn that I'm learning with a young team, too," veteran coach Robert Fong said in December, when his team was 4-7. "I'm not one to micromanage. I'm one of those coaches who will give you a lot of latitude within the system.

"The only thing I'm going to ask is to learn how to play team defense, take charges and box out."

Kennedy is now 8-0 in the Metro Conference after beating heavyweights Sacramento and Burbank.

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