The West Hills Falcons continue to garner preseason attention among the state men's basketball community.
The popular Signal The Light Basketball website, the creation of former hoop standout John Bynum, has the Falcons ranked No. 8 in the Northern California Preseason Rankings – and picked to finish second in the Central Valley Conference this season.
Here is Bynum's preview on WHCC:
West Hills (16-11 overall, 9-3 2nd place in the Central Valley Conference): Last season, the Falcons won 16 games and finished two games behind the conference champion Fresno City Rams. West Hills had a standout season and made it to the post season. West Hills lost in the second round in the Northern California playoffs to 5th seeded Las Positas. The Falcons will look to build off last season's success moving forward into the 2016-2017 upcoming season.
Returnees: The Falcons will return four players from last season's playoff squad. Leading the list of four returnees is "6-4" wing Romario Saunders. Saunders led the Falcons in scoring a year ago averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest and the sophomore shot 40% from downtown and made 42 of them a year ago. "6-1" sophomore Troy Arce will return to the Falcons for his second season. Arce is a heady point guard that does not turn the ball over very often. Arce averaged 4.0 points and 4.9 assist in his freshman campaign a year ago. "6-3" Chris Garcia and "5-11" shooter Anthony Zataray also return and add experience to the Falcons roster for the upcoming season.
Newcomers: West Hills will get plenty of help from their newcomers. "6-7" sophomore Steven Coulanges returns for his sophomore season. Coulanges sat out last season but averaged 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2014-2015 season. "6-4" Darius Scott (Damien HS), "6-6" Landon Johnson (Northeast HS), "6-3" Delvon Hightower (Foothill HS), and "6-0" Winder Joseph (Lakeworth Christian HS) will be look upon to contribute to the Falcons this season.
Projection: West Hills will be a standout team in Northern California this upcoming season. The Falcons made a solid showing at the Socal Jamboree last month and proved that they can play with some elite competition. West Hills should challenge Fresno for the top of the Central Valley Conference and we should see the Falcons in the post season. This should be a solid season for the Coalinga based team in the Central Valley.
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Complete "Signal The Light Basketball" NorCal rankings at:
The Falcons open the 2016-17 season this week at the Cuesta College Tournament in San Luis Obispo. Head Coach Mark Arce starts his 16th season at West Hills with a Thursday (6pm) match-up against No. 2 Saddleback. West Hills will also face Allan Hancock (Saturday, 5pm) and host Cuesta (Sunday, 5pm).