El Camino boys' basketball team rolling past nonleague foes; Burlingame still team to beat in PAL 

El Camino started the season off with a 10-2 record behind Michael Smith, above, and Elijah White, posing a threat to topple defending champ Burlingame. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • El Camino started the season off with a 10-2 record behind Michael Smith, above, and Elijah White, posing a threat to topple defending champ Burlingame.

All six boys’ basketball teams from the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division reached the postseason last year, but the goal for many is to topple defending champion Burlingame.

Burlingame brings back a much younger team, but has already been able to collect some impressive wins over Willow Glen, Riordan and Sacred Heart Prep.

“You have to beat Burlingame to win this league. Through the years, they’ve been the dominant team in our league,” El Camino coach Archie Junio said. “We’ve got to be consistent. Those kinds of teams will find a way to win.”

El Camino jumped out to a 10-2 start in the nonleague season entering the weekend behind a strong performance from the Colts’ defense.

“Once all these kids bought in, that’s when we played [defense] a lot better,” Junio said.

That defense has been keyed by Elijah White and Michael Smith.

White, who is averaging 17 points per game, has continued to improve, Junio said, but Smith, 15 points per game, has improved dramatically.

“This year, he is really excelling, Junio said of Smith. “He’s become a really good defender.”

Woodside has also picked up a lot of early wins, 10-3 entering the weekend, and has its goal set on beating Burlingame.

“They really want to win the league, and I think with high school kids, anybody can beat anybody on any given night,” Woodside coach Phillip White said. “To be the best, you have to beat the best. Winning the Bay Division goes through Burlingame.”

Woodside has been on a roll of late and that success has been predicated on its defensive improvement.

“We’ve [played some] pretty good defense and the guys have bought into the way we want to play defense,” White said. “[We’re playing a] more aggressive man-to-man style of defense.”

Woodside has held opponents to less than 40 points seven of its 13 games.

“Those seniors, those guys who have returned have bought in. [With] those guys buying in, then everybody else follows suit,” White said. “That has been the biggest [key] to our success early on.”

Burlingame swept through the league schedule last season and returns Ralph and Frankie Ferrari to a team with a lot of turnover.

The Panthers have won at least 22 games in five of the past seven seasons.

Mills has been up and down heading into league play. Mills played El Camino during the Lynbrook Tournament in early December and lost 63-40.

 

This week’s games PAL Bay Division

Wednesday

- Hillsdale at Mills, 6 p.m.

- El Camino at Jefferson, 6 p.m.

- Woodside at Burlingame, 6 p.m.

Friday

- Burlingame at El Camino, 7:45 p.m.

- Hillsdale at Jefferson, 7:45 p.m.

- Woodside at Mills, 7:30 p.m.

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Zack Farmer

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