Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After a long offseason that lasted nearly two years, the Fernley High School boys basketball team will be back in action Tuesday night.
The Vaqueros will feature just one returning player from their 2019 season, plus one who got a taste of varsity in the regional tournament that season as they host Hug at 6 p.m. Tuesday to open the season.
The Vaqueros went 9-14 overall that season, with an 8-10 record in the Northern 3A.
The lone returnee from that team is Carson Kingston, who was the leading scorer with 16.1 points per game. Jett Caudle, now a junior, got in two games that year as a freshman, while Ryan Gamsby got in five.
The inexperience is amplified by the cancellation of last season. While they didn’t play any games, the players were allowed to participate in open gyms, but in a socially distant manner in which they weren’t allowed to share a ball. Coach Derek Miller said they worked on individual skills like ballhandling and shooting.
“The kids are excited to be back playing,” he said.
The Vaqueros have a 13-man roster with nine seniors and four juniors, and despite their lack of varsity experience, several played AAU ball for Jam on It and Kingston played on a travel team out of Idaho.
“I think we have a pretty good group,” Miller said. “The nice thing is we do have some kids who are gym rats. I like what I see so far.
Miller said while the team doesn’t have a lot of height, they have good length and some good shooters. He said they should be able to pay his preferred pressure defense and get up and down the floor.
After facing Hug Tuesday, the Vaqueros will travel to Las Vegas for the Lake Mead Holiday Classic this weekend, where they will get several games, starting off with the winner of the Lincoln County-Moapa Valley matchup.
With the Northern 3A divided into two divisions this season, the Vaqueros are in the East with Dayton, Fallon, Lowry, Elko and Spring Creek. That figures to be a tough division with Elko led by Michael Klekas, and Fallon, the two-time defending state champions.
The Vaqueros are made up of seniors JR Reyes, Lorec Shalata, Ryan Gamsby, Austin Hobson, Josh Cartagena, Caleb Mortenson, Grant Miller and Kingston, plus juniors Jake Cummins, Caudle, Jancarlos Pineda Sandoval and Caden Cross.