Last year's edition of the team was the most successful Triton Frosh squad in the school's 50-year history. It posted a 24-1 overall record, went undefeated in league en route to the championship and avenged its only loss. In fact, the last three Triton Frosh teams have less than 10 losses among them.
No one really expects this year's Tritons to duplicate the feats of their immediate predecessors. But as the Triton class of 2018 embarks on its first journey onto a high school basketball court, only one thing is certain – nothing is certain.
That's the way it is with freshman basketball. In fact, as this year's team moves from gym to gym and game to game, one of the most-uttered phrases it will hear surely will be, “That's freshman basketball.”
Whether it's referring to anything from miscues as a result of over exuberance to inexplicable calls from junior officiating crews, freshman basketball can sometimes be an adventure.
Will a starter miss time because of snowboarding trip? Will one starter not show up until halftime after getting lost on way to a game for the league championship? And will another walk out of the gym during the same game?
Don't laugh. All of this has occurred in recent Triton freshman basketball history.
So first-year coach Brian Justice, moving over after several years as a Triton Varsity assistant, will be looking for signs along the way as to what kind of team he has on his hands. One of those came during summer play when the freshmen finished strong by winning the El Toro Tournament.
In addition, a number of the freshmen helped provide depth for the Triton Junior Varsity as it won the prestigious UCSD Tournament.
In contrast to last year's team, Coach Justice will have more to work with in the front court. The 2013-14 squad had only a handful of post players, while the 2014-15 team has nearly half the roster listed as forwards or centers. In fact, he has more six-footers than either the sophomore or junior varsity teams.
Among these players, a large number have club and travel team backgrounds with organizations such as 5onFive, Open Gym and Club Nikos, as well as the locally based teams led by Duwayne Horn, an assistant coach with the Triton varsity. Also notable about this freshman class is that several come with Triton basketball legacies, having had siblings play for past Triton teams. Additionally, a number of players come from families with Division 1 athletic backgrounds.
Coach Justice will definitely have a challenge on his hands in keeping the new players names straight. He has two Calvins and a Calin, a Brendan and a Branden, two Walkers and two Wilsons, who just happen to be brothers.
The team will play seven home games, and its most distant road trip will be to Woodbridge on December 9. Its tournaments are at Dana Hills, Laguna Hills and El Toro. San Clemente's freshmen are defending champions at Laguna Hills and El Toro. In fact, they won the last two Laguna Hills tournaments.
Besides the league schedule, among the highlights will be the special game against La Jolla at 4 p.m. December 13 in the Auxiliary Gym. This game will occur while four games in the varsity-level OC/SDChallenge are being played in Triton Gym.
Traditional rivalry games against San Juan Hills on Jan. 9 and Tesoro on January 30 should be competitive.