WATSONVILLE—Pajaro Valley High boys basketball head coach Eddie Marin has seen plenty of ups and downs during his short tenure with the program.
One of those low moments he’d like to put behind him was last year after going winless in his first season as skipper of the varsity team.
Marin—who’s coached most of this year’s players since they were freshmen—said it’s taken a while to get them up to speed but it seems like they’re slowly getting it together, improving on a daily basis.
“We’ve been really working on teamwork,” he said. “We want to be known as the team that always plays hard.”
Marin joined the basketball program in 2018 as head coach of the freshmen before making his way up to the varsity level two years later.
Marin said this year’s group has a shot to win a league title and make a run in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Prior to that, the Grizzlies will compete in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Santa Lucia Division this season.
Pajaro Valley has never won a league title in the program’s history and the last time they made a postseason appearance was in the 2019-20 season, losing to North Monterey County in the CCS Division III first round.
“We have a great group, very talented all around,” Marin said. “I really can see them winning league and making a run in playoffs.”
Pajaro Valley will have 16 players on its roster including junior and team captain Eric Montero.
“Montero is a great leader, always working hard and has a great basketball IQ,” Marin said
Montero made the switch from small forward to point guard, which is a position he’s never played before. He never anticipated the move, however, he’s been able to adjust and is starting to gain control of his new role.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be playing point guard but I’m transitioning really good right now and really starting to get it,” Montero said.
Other top returners for the Grizzlies include guard Ryan Salazar, center/forward Matthew Silos and guard Jonathan Parra.
Montero said they hit a minor bump in the road coming right out of the gate, yet he sees the potential within the group.
“We had a rough start but we are getting better. Practices are much smoother and we are communicating more,” Montero said.
Pajaro Valley (0-6) is still winless following a 47-36 loss to St. Francis High in Wednesday evening’s preseason finale.
Pajaro Valley will try to get in the win column and hopefully begin PCAL Santa Lucia Division play on the right track with a meeting at York School on Jan. 4 at 7pm.
Others in the mix for a division crown include Anzar, Ceiba, Kirby Prep, Pacific Collegiate and Trinity Christian.
Montero believes they have a special team that has what it takes to be successful and the will to win games. He said now it’s a matter of continuing to put in the work.
“I hope I can become that leader this team needs to lead us in the right path,” Montero said.
Marin also highlighted senior and team captain Jorge Elias–a four-year player at Pajaro Valley–who has hopes of making history and winning the program’s first league championship.
“I really think we have a great group of players, it took us a while but we are finally clicking,” Elias said.
Marin said the group is focused on teamwork and has them bonding on and off the court. Montero mentioned the chemistry might have been a little off to begin the season, however, things are starting to mesh like he imagined.
“We are finally starting to build that team bond that we need to beat these teams, we just have to execute now,” Montero said.