Returning to the helm of Canyon basketball after a two year hiatus, former Cowboy head coach Sean DeLong is back on the sidelines showcasing this year’s Canyon basketball team in the War On the Floor tournament held at John Burroughs High School in Burbank on Wednesday.
In their first game of the tournament, the Cowboys faced off against Chavez High School. Coming out with a collective team aggression and energy that couldn’t be matched, the Cowboys came out victorious with a 87-59 victory to begin tournament play.
“We played hard and we are battling but we still have a lot of fundamental sound team basketball to play,” DeLong said. “So that’s the big thing we are working on is trying to play together and try to make sure we understand that everyone has a role. Do the role the best you can and things will take care of themselves.”
With a revamped lineup from last year’s team that finished the Foothill League in last place, the Cowboys lose last year’s leading scorer Junior Camacho and welcome Angelo Harris, a transfer student from Will C. Wood High School in Sacramento.
“Everybody on the team is new to me,” Harris said. “We are all getting along well and we are just trying to work as a team still to get everyone on the same page.”
Finishing the game with a game-high 16 points, Harris gives the Cowboys a new added depth and size down low that can handle the ball out on the perimeter or score in the paint.
With point guard Brian Johnston, a call-up from junior varsity, running the Cowboy offense Canyon looked comfortable on the floor constantly cutting and moving without the ball.
Johnston finished the game with three 3-pointers and upwards of eight assists in the game.
“For me I add my speed and the ability to pass the ball,” Johnston said. “I’m not just a single player, I like to move the ball a lot and it’s not just about one single person it’s about the team.”
At halftime the Cowboys led 42-29.
In the second half, Harris was able to work more on the ball as DeLong allowed him to bring up the ball up and run the offense.
Extending the lead to 18 at with the score at 59-41 with under 10 minutes to go, Harris took command of the Cowboy offense, finding players on the wings to hit the open three or preoccupying defenders out on the perimeter and dropping the ball off down low.
Playing and up-tempo, aggressive style, the Cowboys were active on both sides of the ball as they never let Chavez comfortably run their offense causing double digit turnovers and mental mistakes that would doom the Eagles.
“Just to not be one dimensional,” DeLong said. “We have a lot of guys that can shoot and dribble. So the key is to not let the ball become stagnant. Like any good team swing the ball, be aggressive, be ready to do your role and then defensively create turnovers, create charges and push the ball up the floor.”
With a new season, new players and a new head coach, the “new” look Cowboy’s basketball team is ready for a war on the floor.