The Greyhounds are back after a disappointing loss last season

ATASCADERO – Last year, Atascadero High School’s Varsity Basketball team had a fantastic season, which led them all the way to CIF for the first time since 1974. Sadly, the team did not come home with the championship, but it isn’t stopping them from going for the big win this year!

“It was an incredible experience [making it to CIF last year]. We didn’t even know if we were going to have a season. When we got the “go ahead” to start practicing, we were only allowed to practice outside due to those past Covid-19 protocols, and so we were practicing outside on the blacktop. Putting in the extra work definitely paid off in the long run and, I think, gave us an edge going into the postseason. Our goal was to win The Ocean League and get a few wins in CIF, so it definitely felt like we overachieved, which is a great feeling even though we didn’t win it all,” said Head Coach, Augie Johnston. “It [not winning] was a tough pill to swallow since we had the home advantage and still didn’t pull it off in the end, but at this point, it’s water under the bridge, and it was huge for the future of our program.”

Johnston played for Atascadero High back in the early 2000s, where his love for the sport grew. “I graduated in 2004. I played for Jerry Tamelier, and we had a good team back then that won the Pac 5 league and had a 22-3 record,” he reminisced. “I wanted to stay around the game and continue to promote the game of basketball in my hometown. I want to see kids have the same experiences I had in high school and grow as leaders through athletics,” he said about coming back to coach.

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This year, The Greyhounds are back and stronger than ever, and they have the CIF Championship in their sights. The varsity team is comprised of seven seniors who’ve been playing the game together for six years, give or take. And the junior class is just as strong. Together, they create a super competitive team.

“I’ve known them all [the seven seniors] since they were young. They should all give themselves a lot of credit because each one of them has dedicated themselves to the game of basketball since I’ve known them. They are the type to get in the weight room or out of the court to work on their game in their free time. They have a huge support system in their parents, and they all are exceptional student-athletes. They’ve been playing together for so long that they have a chemistry on the court that you can’t teach,” Johnston continued.

While The Grayhouds played in The Ocean League last year, they’ve moved up to The Mountain League this year, which gives them an extra advantage going into CIF, as they will be playing much tougher competition as they go along.

“It was an honor to be selected to play in the Mountain League, but it brings a lot of new challenges to our team and season. Every game will be highly competitive. But, it will help us as we go into CIF this year as the strength of your schedule matters when being ranked. We want to get some big wins against good teams and feel good about how we’re playing, and the rest will take care of itself,” concluded Johnston.

This year’s team is made up of seniors Kaiden Abma, Logan Reyes, Michael Porter, Riley Coalwell, Levi Meeks, Jarren Fischer, Steven Waiters. And juniors Max Bagby, Noah Abma, CJ Bell, Logan Daves, Corban Rossi, and Benjamin Strohl.

“We have 13 very good players. I feel like we have a healthy competitive environment where our Juniors respect our Seniors, and our Seniors respect our Juniors,” said Johnston.

The CIFs start mid-February.