The COVID-19 shutdown and its subsequent challenges have hit the Moore League’s youngest high school the hardest this school year. Declining numbers have been a major issue at Cabrillo, forcing a number of programs out of competition. But third-year boys’ basketball coach Kyles Hawkins has been able to assemble a varsity roster for the Moore League season, and has a solid group ready to show what they can do.
“It’s been a rough year, but I was able to get the guys back and put a team together to get through this season,” Hawkins said. “We’ve been practicing outside, and just staying the course. We didn’t know if we were going to have a season until a month prior to league play starting, so we were able to put a team together and I got most of my guys back.”
Hawkins went a full year without seeing his players after school campuses were closed, but has been working to get his players up to speed for the upcoming campaign. The Jags have three non-league contests scattered throughout the schedule, but will not have the luxury of any preseason games to prepare for league play. Because he hasn’t been able to see his players respond to in-game situations just yet, it’s tough for Hawkins to predict how his team will look in this unusual season, but he’s optimistic about his squad.
“I think we have a chance,” Hawkins said. “Due to Covid and all the changes that have happened across the league, and teams not being able to see anybody else, it’ll give us a fair chance in any game we play this year. I’m just excited for the kids to be playing. I don’t want to write the year off, we’re going to try to get after it and be as grimy as we can be, but I’m excited for the kids to have a season.”
Senior guard Isaiah Hill (pictured) will be the go-to player for the Jags this season. As a returning first team All-Moore League selection, he brings both talent and experience to the floor. Hawkins also lauded Hill’s energy and willingness to play hard for the entire game, which can be contagious for the rest of the team.
Ronald Watts is another returning All-League selection, who was named a second teamer in 2020. He’s the tallest member of the Cabrillo roster and will be counted on to do the dirty work down low as an undersized big. Senior Eric King is another experienced player who has been a three-year varsity contributor under Hawkins.
Joining the squad this season is talented freshman point guard Jared Lloyd II, who Hawkins believes is one of the top ninth graders in the area.
“He’s a phenomenal point guard,” said Hawkins. “Just having him with the ball in his hands and being able to groom him to be one of the better players of the league in the future is going to be very fun to see.”
With the uncertainty of the season, and the challenges that preceded it, Hawkins wants his team to aim for a Top 4 finish in the Moore League with eyes on a postseason berth. He’s looking forward to seeing his players get the chance to play and navigate the rigors of the season.
“I’m just excited, man. It’s going to be a test of our mental and physical capacity,” Hawkins admitted. “But with league play being really the only obstacle for us, I think it gives us a better opportunity to compete.”