All three Murrieta public high school varsity boys’ basketball teams are ranked in the top 12 in the Inland Empire by The Press-Enterprise in pre-league play thus far.
Coming off a fifth-place effort in the Big Daddy Tournament at Citrus Hill High School over the weekend, PE.com ranked Vista Murrieta seventh in the IE and second in league behind Chaparral.
Coach Andy Rucker’s Broncos were 3-1 in the tournament with their only loss coming at the hands of tournament Champs Corona 62-41.
The Broncos' Anthony White averaged 15.3 points and seven rebounds and freshman Austin Beech averaged 9.3 points, 6.25 rebounds and three assists. Peter Manu, Spencer Benson and Jeremy Zorotovich all played well over the weekend.
Coach Rucker is very pleased with the developing freshman guard and sees improvement each game.
"I'm confident that he will develop into a outstanding player," Rucker said.
Murrieta Mesa finished third in the Big Daddy; Coach Russell Ham’s team looks poised for an eventful 2013 season. The Rams senior-heavy roster has one junior, a sophomore and 13 upperclassmen. They are ranked 10th in the IE by PE.com and third in the league.
Their only loss in the tournament was to Perris in the Big Daddy semifinal. Senior Shane Staton averaged 13.3 points per game.
Trevon Session, Shondell Smith and Khalil Sharpe are potent offensive weapons while big Drew Santiago can be used to shut down opposing centers.
“I am very pleased with our overall effort," said Ham. "We still have a lot to improve on, especially free-throw shooting and rebounding but all in all, it was nice to get third place in a solid tournament as the Big Daddy and come out with three wins."
Murrieta Valley finished strong in the tournament with an overtime victory against Patriot High School 60-57. The Nighthawks lost the opener of the Big Daddy to Citrus Hill by two baskets, 48-44.
After Coach Steve Tarabilda made a couple of lineup adjustments, the Nighthawks won three straight.
“This is a young team, all the starters are juniors,” said Tarabilda. “They will get much better as the season moves on.”
Tyler Bilton, Kevin Padlo, Jordan Williams, Reid Bohanan and Mitchell Lenhart spearhead the junior-dominated roster.
The Nighthawks are ranked 11th in the Inland Empire and fourth in their league.
Check back with Patch soon for some girls basketball coverage.