Canyon boys hoops clashes with Windward at War on the Floor tourney

BURBANK — A busy summer of basketball has already begun for the Canyon Cowboys boys varsity team and they continued a tough slate of games on Tuesday, facing Windward at Burbank High School in their second game of the War on the Floor tournament.

The Cowboys kept it tight in the beginning of the game, but the Wildcats took a 30-16 lead into halftime and ended up winning 49-27.

Canyon head coach Sean DeLong intentionally scheduled tough teams like Windward all summer as he wants to prepare his players for the varsity level and a competitive Foothill League.

“The main thing is we’re trying to play the toughest teams that we can find and then be true to ourselves. Sometimes when you play a lesser team you get away with a lot more mistakes and a team like Windward is a really good team,” DeLong said. “ Everything we do wrong is just evident and it kind of reminds our guys where we have to get better. Last year we had too many turnovers, too many offensive rebounds for the other team and we recognized we had to clean that up. Tonight we had too many turnovers, but we’re taking steps in the right way.

“We’re a little different what we’re doing offensively, defensively, and the guys are really working hard and the score isn’t indicative of the team we played and how much improvement we’ve already made. I was proud overall of the effort tonight.”

The Cowboys were led by Matt Heyne, who is heading into his sophomore year. Heyne scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end. He was on the varsity roster last season as a freshman, but was injured for most of the year.

Listed at 6-foot-2 on MaxPreps.com, Heyne has the size to dominate in the post, but also has a smooth jumper and great footwork that he displayed on Tuesday.

“Matt’s got a big future ahead of him, he’s the hardest working young kid. He’s in the gym, always asking questions, always watching film. He lives, breathes basketball,” DeLong said. “He’s just a leader. Once he gets his legs under him and gets more minutes at the varsity level, I think he’s going to be a stud as he gets older.”

A newcomer to the varsity team after playing on JV last year, Josh Desvarieux provided great injury off the bench for Canyon.

Desvarieux was hustling for every loose ball and crashing the offensive glass, making his presence felt every minute he was on the court.

“We’ve tried to tap into his toughness, his athleticism to go get offensive boards, be aggressive and he’s just flourished,” DeLong said about Desvarieux. “He’s in the gym everyday working, he wants to get better. He’s going to be a spark plug for us off the bench.”

With five key seniors graduating last year, the Cowboys will rely on the leadership of Anthony Gallo, Anthony Regalado and Connor Cooper, who didn’t play on Tuesday after injuring his ankle last week.

Even though Cooper wasn’t suited up, he was still on the bench cheering on his teammates and giving the other bigs on the team Corwin Daugharty and Heyne some pointers.

“They are some of the hardest workers around, our seniors just bust their butts. We have a mix of seniors, a few juniors and a lot of sophomores, so it’s a lot of guys who haven’t played at the varsity level,” DeLong said. “We’re just trying to get as many reps as we can, do as much teaching as we can and work on the fundamentals.”

Canyon will continue the War on the Floor tournament on Wednesday, facing Buckley at 3:05 p.m. at Burroughs High School in the last game of pool play. The Cowboys lost to La Canada in their first game of the tournament on Monday.

The Cowboys are also playing in a summer league at Heritage Christian, facing Alemany on Thursday at 8:10 p.m.

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