Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Mark Twain famously said, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there are statistics.” Although everybody knows that numbers do not lie, it is also well known that numbers alone do not always tell the whole story, and often context is required to suss out the full meaning of various mathematical representations. All this applies to the S.I. Boys Varsity Basketball Team in that while some of their numbers for the 2018-1019 campaign are spectacular, others might be a cause for some embarrassment if considered without any background knowledge of the situation in which they were produced.
For example, in the team’s fourth year of training with MAD, the Wildcat cagers posted phenomenal numbers in the weight room. They simply crushed their strength and conditioning regimen. Over the course of 74 workouts and 27 games, the team gained 8149 lbs. of strength, and sustained no injuries. Furthermore, the team began the season with three starters who were out with injuries incurred while pursuing their individual careers with A.A.U. programs.
Senior Garrett Cason had sustained a torn patella, senior Wrenn Robinson had suffered a fractured metatarsal, and senior Neil Begovich was out with lower back pain and a fractured disk. Despite the grind of S.I.’s 27 game schedule, all three players successfully rehabbed their injuries in-season and returned to the starting lineup without further medical issues, finishing the season healthier, stronger, and in better condition than when they began.
MAD Head Coach Eric Bringas was impressed with the team’s maturity and professionalism in their approach to their MAD training. “Despite their trials and tribulations on the court during the season, the players always showed up ready to go. Like professionals, they stayed focussed, and they gave it their all. The team’s stellar effort is borne out by their training results.” A veteran of many campaigns in various sports, Coach Bringas considers the work of this year’s S.I. Boys Varsity Basketball Team to be one of the best, in-season performances by a team in the weight room that he has ever seen.
Murray Athletic Development just completed its fourth season working with the S.I. Boy’s Varsity Basketball Team, and S.I. Boy’s Varsity Head Coach Rob Marcaletti described the benefits of MAD’s training as incredible. Coach Marcaletti said that before he ever landed his job as S.I.’s Head Coach, he knew that the first thing he planned to do in the event of his hiring would be to secure MAD’s services. True to his word, that is exactly what he did.
The fourth year coach recalls having reservations last season when MAD Staff recommended increasing the team’s workout intensities in mid-season. Coach Marcaletti was pleasantly surprised when the move yielded remarkable results. “Probably the thing MAD’s Staff does best is having its finger on the pulse of exactly what the kids need at any point in time.”
Coach Bringas alluded to the fact that on the court, the S.I. Varsity Boys hoopsters experienced both “trials and tribulations.” Among the season’s tribulations were a sweep of rival Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. including a statement 65-45 victory in the Bruce Mahoney Game at Haas Pavilion on the U.C. Berkeley Campus. The Wildcats finished the season strong with a four game win streak garnering a sixth seed in the C.C.S. Open Division Tournament and ultimately an eleventh seed in the C.I.F. Division II State Tournament.
Individual honors were also accorded to seniors Wrenn Robinson and Neil Begovich. Robinson was selected as a member of the All-W.C.A.L. First Team and of the S.F. Chronicle All-Metro Fourth Team. Begovich made the All-W.C.A.L. Second Team and was an S.F. Chronicle All-Metro Honorable Mention.
In the season’s “trials” column, one might list the team’s overall record of 13-14 and its fifth place finish in the W.C.A.L. However, this is where Mr. Clemens’ folksy wisdom comes into play. There is no denying that a 13-14 record is a losing record. As the saying goes, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.” Yet a little context will reveal what the numbers alone do not, that this year’s S.I. Varsity Boys Basketball Team, though a little raw, was a talented, scrappy club that ultimately rose to the occasion when their backs were against the wall.
Perhaps the most important frame of reference for the S.I. Boy’s fifth place finish in league
this year is the W.C.A.L. itself, and the C.C.S. Tournament Selection Committee bore this out. Of the eight teams in the W.C.A.L. Boys Varsity Basketball this year, seven of them qualified for the C.C.S. Tournament - all in the open division! The W.C.A.L.’s seventh place team, its second-to-last place team, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, was the eighth seed in the C.C.S. Boys Basketball Open Division. That is simply unheard of. It is as if the W.C.A.L. were the Mount Olympus League.
Even more amazingly, in the Open Division Title Game, the Irish beat Bellarmine, the W.C.A.L. Champions, to win the C.C.S. Boys Basketball Open Division Title. So in essence, S.I.’s Boys Varsity Basketball team played its league games in the C.C.S. Boys Open Division where the competition was so fierce that on any given night, any team had the chance to beat any other team. Now S.I.’s fifth place W.C.A.L. finish isn’t looking so bad. As a matter of fact, S.I. only lost to W.C.A.L. Champ Bellarmine 57-54 in a hard fought C.C.S. Quarter-Final battle, and it swept the C.C.S. Champion Irish in both their meetings this season.
Although Coach Marcaletti is proud of the league in which the Wildcats compete, and of the accomplishments of their W.C.A.L. cohorts, he does not hide the fact that he and his players had higher aspirations for the season. For their poor overall record which was a byproduct of the team scuffling in the preseason, the S.I. Coach, like a true leader, readily shoulders the blame. S.I.’s Varsity Coach believes in challenging his players and eschews the practice of scheduling lollipop games in the preseason. Yet, of the seven seniors who suited up for S.I.’s Varsity, only two, Robinson and Begovich, had significant varsity experience, and Marcaletti fears that taking such a young team to Texas to kick off their season was too much to ask of such an inexperienced group. The team returned from the Lone Star State with an 0-3 record, beginning their season in a hole.
However, Coach Marcaletti is immensely proud of how his players battled through their early season adversity, and when midway through their W.C.A.L. schedule, they found themselves facing the prospect of spending the postseason on the sidelines, they dug deep and ran the table for their remaining W.C.A.L. contests. “Their achievement is a testament to who the players are as people. That experience helped them grow not just as athletes, but more importantly as teammates.” Although Marcaletti acknowledges that championships are always the goal, in lieu of that, the team’s late season surge and its sixth seed in the C.C.S. Open Division are certainly worthwhile accomplishments, and they are definitely successes for the program to build on going forward.