Boys Basketball: Yellowjackets will look to bully teams in the post

Basketball fans in Williams have a lot to look forward to in 2017-18, as the Yellowjackets varsity squad returns six players from last year’s Mid-Valley League champion squad.

The Yellowjackets are coming off a 23-7 campaign under the guidance of longtime coach Tony Hermann, a season highlighted by winning the MVL pennant, a trip to the Northern Section’s Division V title game, and a berth to the Northern California CIF state playoffs.

The key player missing from last season is 2017 graduate Alex Velazquez, a guard who led the team in scoring with 19 points per game. Pedro Ornelas (nine points per game), Julius Fisher, and Allan Guevara were also among the seven seniors lost to graduation.

“Alex was a very special player, but our guard play has been consistent with maybe more depth,” Hermann said. “We’ll rotate guys around to help fill spots vacated by the guys who graduated… Hunter Povlsen, who has a good basketball IQ, will be our point guard most of the time.”

The Yellowjackets will maintain dominance over most teams, however, with a pair of powerful post players.

Bryson Bowen, a consistent double-double threat last season, is now a senior. Bowen will rule the paint alongside junior Anthony Davalos. The pair averaged 25 points per game in 2016-17, and comprise one of the most formidable front courts in the section in 2017-18.
“ I expect even more from Bryson and Anthony. They have another year under their belt so I expect them to start where they left off. They are great teammates and look to feed off one another.”

Hermann added that he had a couple more post players than he did last year, which would allow him to give Davalos and Bowen opportunities to take a needed breather, or to fill in if either gets into foul trouble.

Returning seniors Eduardo Rodriguez, Rafael Villa, Anthony Bautista, and Andres Trujillo will also add veteran leadership to the Yellowjackets’ roster of 15 players.

Povlsen is a junior who got a taste of varsity-level action last year as a postseason call-up. He has already established himself as an impact player in 2017-18 with a pair of double-digit scoring performances last weekend in the Pierce Invitational.

“Hunter was the varsity quarterback on the football team since his sophomore year, so he definitely has leadership qualities,” Hermann said. “He listens and is a good communicator. He is your typical point guard that is looking to get his teammates involved and executing the offense. But he can also score, drive and shoot. When he’s on the floor it’s almost like having an assistant coach out there.”

In Arbuckle, the Yellowjackets lost the tourney opener to Middletown, but rallied Friday and Saturday to earn the consolation title with victories against Orland and Live Oak.

Williams (3-1) continues preseason action this week with a home game against Colusa, and will travel to Esparto on Dec. 11.