On the surface, 12-0 seems pretty good. Perfect, actually, but by no means are the No. 2 Jesuit Marauders content with their basketball start this winter.
Not the coaches, not the team captains, not the role players.
“We can be better,” said Greg Harcos, in his 13th season as Marauders coach. “We need to get gritty and tough. We can’t be up and down. There’s great potential with this team.”
Harcos takes it a bit personal, coaching this program, because this is his school. He was a junior on Jesuit’s first Sac-Joaquin Section championship basketball team in 1988.
As a senior, he quarterbacked the Marauders to their first football playoff berth. He was the school’s Scholar/athlete of the Year in 1988-89, and it was his dream to return to the Carmichael campus to teach and coach.
“Coach Harcos sees our potential and he wants the best for us,” said senior forward Lake Lutes, who has committed to Air Force. “He doesn’t want us to underachieve. He doesn’t want us to have lapses.”
The lapses haven’t been enough to prevent Jesuit from winning three tournaments, but there have been enough hiccups to get Harcos to jump out of his coaching seat.
He challenges his players to be complete, to share the ball on offense, to defend the lane and rim, to rebound and run. And he’s not afraid to sit starters to let reserves take over in games.
Jesuit opened the season by winning the Wild West Shootout in Reno, later won its own 40th Father Barry Classic and last Saturday took the 39th Cordova Christmas Classic by beating upstart Encina 72-60.
Jesuit is already one win away from matching last season’s victory total. It plays No. 15 Granite Bay on Friday at Sleep Train Arena.
These Marauders are a year older and wiser from last season, Harcos said, when they endured a brutal early schedule. Expectations are high because with this program, they’re always high.
Jesuit seeks its 14th league title since 1992. It has reached the section finals 15 times in Division I or II since 1988, winning eight championships.
“We want to be a championship team,” Lutes said. “We can get there.”
Lutes is joined in the frontcourt by fellow 6-foot-6 forward Brady Anderson. Senior guard Nick Hilton is a captain with Lutes, and junior guard Isaiah Bailey has scored on 3-pointers and runners as he has rounded into shape after a deep football playoff run.
Jesuit will host the 11th annual Father Kelly Tribute Showcase on Saturday. It features a matchup of six area teams against six Bay Area powers.
The Marauders cap the day by playing Salesian of Richmond at 8 p.m.
Other scheduled games: Foothill vs. San Leandro, noon; No. 16 Pleasant Grove vs. El Cerrito, 1:30 p.m.; No. 17 Franklin vs. St. Mary’s-Berkeley, 3 p.m.; Granite Bay vs. Monte Vista-Danville, 5 p.m.; and No. 18 Antelope vs. Newark Memorial, 6:30 p.m.
Cougars impress – Tyler Jennings and Uchenna Iroegbu helped Bee No. 1 Capital Christian beat two Southern California powerhouses in the Open Division of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs.
Jennings was 10 of 10 from the foul line and had 12 ponts as the Cougars upset USA Today national No. 5 Etiwanda 48-42 in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Iroegbu had 29 points the next night as the Cougars beat Westchester of Los Angeles 47-43. Jennings had 20 points in Monday’s 54-45 championship loss to Jackson of Mill Creek, Wash.
Dragons lose final – Despite Solomon Young’s 23 points and 11 rebounds, No. 3 Sacramento fell 57-53 to 13-0 El Cerrito in Monday’s Holiday Hardwood Invitational final in Westlake Village.
Cougars three-peat – Behind MVP Vasilije Saraba’s 14 points, 10 rebounds and two steals, No. 10 Del Campo defeated host Placer 63-61 last Saturday in the championship game of the 72nd Kendall Arnett tournament. It was Del Campo’s third consecutive Arnett title.
Grant wins title – Led by MVP Cameron Oliver’s 16 points, No. 11 Grant defeated Crespi of Encino 61-58 on Monday to win the Bambauer Classic in Kentfield.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD and listen to his “Extra Point” every Wednesday on ESPN Radio 1320. The Bee’s Bill Paterson also contributed to this report.