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After a subpar 2009-2010 season which saw the West Sedona School boys basketball team finish 5-8 overall, the Wildcats are back in uniform and ready for a new season to begin.

Longtime Head Coach Pedro Ortega Sr. believes this year’s group is going to be special.

West Sedona School eighth-grader Tristan Decker goes in for a layup as teammate Kevin Schweiss shoots the ball while warming up for practice Wednesday, Nov. 17. After losing their home opener Tuesday, Nov. 16, against Beaver Creek, the boys team will host Camp Verde on Tuesday, Nov. 30.“We had a good preseason tournament and there’s talent on the roster. I think we should be a solid team this season,” Ortega said in an interview before practice Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Since most of the eighth-graders on the team played “A” ball in 2009-2010 as seventh-graders, Ortega has a veteran group in 2010-2011 looking to win a small schools championship at the end of January.

Despite losing their first regular season game Tuesday, Nov. 16, to Beaver Creek School, 47-20, the Wildcats went 2-1 in the preseason Big Park Invitational Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 13.

West Sedona throttled rival Big Park Community School in its first game of the tournament 69-10, then took care of business against Oak Creek School [38-9] before losing a tough one in the nightcap to Camp Verde Middle School, 38-36.

“I thought Camp Verde would be a good test for us. They always have a decent team and are a bigger school but we hung with them fine and in the future we can win that game,” Ortega said.

Top returners for this year’s squad include eighth-graders Dylan McNeil, Tucker Davis, Wesley Mikulewicz, Zeke Saxman, Mason Bradshaw, Skyler Richardson and Kevin Schweiss.

Richardson looks to be a solid point guard for the future while Schweiss is decent in the post. McNeil also runs the point guard spot, but should start on a wing this season for Ortega.

A few newcomers to West Sedona have certainly shown up big for the Wildcats in the early going including eighth-grade standout Josh Caccitori, who could be the next high school star.

Eighth-grader Tristan Decker also joins the group and could start right away for the Wildcats while eighth-graders Jasper Herrick and Gary Balee also made the team.

The Wildcats were in action again Thursday, Nov. 18, against visiting Mayer Middle School. Results were unavailable at press time.

Next up, West Sedona will play host to Camp Verde in a rematch Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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