Murrieta Mesa heads north Thursday to Corona Santiago High School to take on the Sharks in boys basketball.
The Rams have one game left on their schedule before league play begins. The Sharks are 12-3 and ranked 51st in the state, according to maxpreps.com. They will be a formidable challenge for Murrieta.
The Rams are 9-6 and ranked 20th in their CIF Southern Sectional Division. They are coming off a strong performance in the Ted Smith Sr. Classic, winning three of four in the tournament. Their only loss came at the hands of the La Sierra Eagles.
“I’m very pleased with how we responded to a tough loss to La Sierra,” said Mesa coach Russell Ham. “We have yet to find traction on the road this season. We’ve had 10 different starting lineups in 15 games for various reasons.
“We have, however, had a couple of players step up and show they will be able to contribute when league approaches.”
The Rams are loaded with experience this season and boast 12 seniors on their roster.
Shane Staton leads the team in scoring with a 13.5 average. Khalil Sharpe is next with a 10.4 average followed by Shondell Smith 9.8, Trevon Session 8.9, and Austin Bryant 7.2.
Murrieta Mesa has had many players contributing to its 9-6 record. Camry Smith, Andrew Smith, and Shane Bryant have all made positive impacts for the Rams.
“My hope is to get a solid rotation set heading into league,” Ham said. “We are going to lean heavily on Khalil Sharpe to control the pace of the game and get everyone involved.”
The Rams will play one more nonleague game when they host Elsinore High School this Friday.
League play begin on Wednesday, Jan. 9, when the Pumas from Chaparral come into town.