The 2012-13 Summerville Bears varsity boys' basketball team has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of hoops in school history while never taking an eye off the ultimate prize, a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title.
"All year long they just haven't been satisfied no matter where they go," said Bears head coach Ben Watson of a team that has gone 27-3 this year including an undefeated Mother Lode League season.
The Bears earmed a shot at the title Saturday in the Division IV final against Liberty Ranch at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento after routing the Riverbank Bruins 72-55 in the semifinals at Tokay High School on Wednesday night.
Watson said the Bears got in a light practice Thursday, following Wednesday's late game that started at 9 p.m., and will hit the courts again Friday to prepare for Liberty Ranch, which is located in Galt.
"We're kind of recovering from a pretty emotional game last night, but we'll go back to the usual grind tomorrow and keep trying to improve on defense and work on some things on offense," said Watson. "We're also trying to prepare for a team we know has some really good players."
One player in particular the Bears will be looking to shut down Saturday is Hawks guard Michael Meserole, who scored 30 points against Colfax and caught the attention of several Bears. Meserole scored 25.4 points per game on average this season.
"(Meserole's) quick and shoots the ball well," said Summerville senior Connor Morningstar after Wednesday's game. "He had 30 points against Colfax which is a pretty defensively sound team. So we've got some hard work ahead of us. Everybody's gotta work to just shut him down."
Meanwhile, the Bears were also anticipating the opportunity to play ball in the home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," observed Summerville co-captain Jesse Roberson, whose cousin and brother played for the 2010-11 Bears.
Some Bears also expressed their excitement, but did so with cautious reservation.
"I'm really excited but definitely going to prepare hard for it," said Bear captain Rosendo Amaya-Wood, who scored a team-high 15 points on Wednesday and played outstanding in the post. "We definitely are not done. We got this ahead of us and then State (playoffs)."
Watson said that should the Bears win Saturday they are guaranteed a home game in the first round of the State playoffs. The 2010-11 Summerville Bears basketball squad, which this year's team is striving to best, didn't reach the section championship but advanced to the second round of the State bracket.
Longtime Summerville coach Dave Woods said in the 23 years he's been with the school only one other team reached the section championship game in 1991. However, he added none have ever captured the title.
"The whole school's kind of abuzz," said Woods. "I thought the atmosphere at Tokay was really awesome. It was a really great night not just for Coach Watson but for Summerville basketball. I've actually been getting calls from alumni wanting to know what time the game is and where it's at, so I think Summerville will be well-represented again on Saturday."