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Reavis coach Jeff Smith was cautiously optimistic his senior class would rise to the occasion this season.
So far, so good.
The Rams have won six of their first eight games, including a 50-47 win Friday over red-hot T.F. South, which had defeated Richards and Eisenhower.
Reavis tries to keep its fast start going when it travels to T.F. North on Friday night.
“Whenever we have seniors, we feel we can compete,” Smith said. “We do our best to develop kids so that by the time they’re seniors, they’re pretty good and ready to go.”
Reavis boasts one of the Southland’s top scorers and three-point threats in senior Nick Bal, who is averaging around 20 points per game and shooting more than 50 percent from beyond the arc.
“He’s playing great,” Smith said.
While Bal has led the way, the Rams are far from a one-man show.
Point guard Jorge Martinez has done a fine job taking care of and distributing the basketball. He’s averaging 6.5 assists per game. Bal, too, has done an excellent job handling the ball, allowing just one turnover a game.
“Eliminating the turnovers has been the key,” Smith said. “We gave up the ball too easy last year. We’re handling the ball much better.”
Another major factor has been the play of Eddie Puha, who has provided a consistent post presence. Puha is only 6-foot-3, but according to Smith, plays like he’s 6-8. He’s averaging 14 points and eight boards per game.
Puha is one reason why the Rams have outrebounded each of their first eight opponents.
“We’re defending the paint and not letting up anything easy,” Smith said. “Eddie has really stepped up for us.
“Overall, we’re taking some charges and being aggressive.”
Reavis’ fortunes should only improve once Abdel Ishtaiah returns in about four weeks from wrist surgery.
“Abdel had a great summer,” Smith said. “He was going to be our sixth man. He’s going to give us some much-needed depth when he returns.”