Eagles Set To Soar
Walking into Boulder City’s Gym feels nostalgic, the lighting, the banners, the history, you could take BC and place it into any Hollywood High School Basketball movie. There would probably be a leading role for their coach as well. John Balistere is Boulder City. He was a great player for the program seved as an assistant and has been the head basketball coach since 2013. He’s seen a ton of changes during his time, but two things remain consistent, his passion for the game, and his teams ability to compete. The Eagles have been a perennial contender throughout his time at the helm, and this year, with realignment stacking the 3A divison, BC’s dominance is in question to everyone except the coach.
“We’ve always felt the last 5 or 6 years, that we’re somewhere near the top” We may not have the athletes that some other teams have, but we have a spirited group”– HC John Balistere
What they lack in athleticsm the Eagles make up for in skill and chemistry. This year’s BC team may be one of the deepest teams that the coach has had in recent memory. They are led by one of the best backcourts in 3A, which features senior guard Roman Rose, a 6’1 sharpshooter, that spent the summer traveling the country competing against some of the top players in America.
“Roman is coming on very strong, and he’s getting to a place where we always thought he could be and he’s still got a ton of upside, the ceiling is the limit for him”– John Balistere
He is joined by Luke Wright, a tough as nails PG with underatted shiftyness, and a knack for finding the open man. Wright and Rose are dangerous enough in their own right, however when junior guard Sean Pendleton is added to the mix, the backcourt becomes dynamic. Pendleton, a legacy player who grew up watching his older brothers play for BC, carries himself, with a quiet confidence and younger brother type toughness and competitive spirit.
“Mostly I’m trying to control the tempo of the game, while creating my own shots and trying to find my teammates when they’re open”.– Sean Pendleton
While the backcourt is clearly the strong suit of the team, the frontcourt is led by an emerging star, as junior forward Jack Walker has transformed himself from a heavyset freshmen, to a lean, athletic junior. His ability to defend the interior, rebound the basketball, and sprint the floor will be a huge key to the Eagles success this season.
“Jack’s really changed his body, and has adjusted some things, he’s running the floor much better and that’s what we need”– Coach Balistere
Each of the players was challenged by the coach to get better in the offseason, and if the summer results are any indication, each of them have exceeded the challenge.
“As a coach your job is to challenge them, and I think if we want to get to where they would like to go, they’re obviously a huge part of the equation, and with expectations come pressure”– Coach Balistere
They can take solace in knowing that that pressure will be shared equally, as the Eagles have a slew of new players set to make contributions to the program. The Valencia brothers Evan Valencia and Ethan Valencia should have a huge impact. Evan is returning from a knee injury, while Ethan is a lefty shooter who shot absolutley lights out during the workout. They will be joined by Jaiden Thackry who the coach describes as one of the best floor runners on the team. Perhaps the passion that the coach shows is in large part due to the next generation of Eagles, as the coach raved about his talented freshmen, with some of the talent on display during the wrokout. Branch Danko is a long 6’3 forward that has a ton of upside, while Tre Armstrong is a lighting fast guard that showed three point shooting ability. When you put it all together, the Eagles look primed for a bright future and present, making the coach’s expectations no suprise.
My expectations are always the same, that we’re going to go out and try to win our league”– Coach Balistere
Bruce Williams is an NCAA Certified Scout who covers basketball in Nevada.
He is a UNLV Insider for the Runnin Rebel Report.