One thing is clear going into the new season for Warrior basketball: The expectations are high. Very high.

Practice is filled with energy, stressing fitness, smart decision-making and focus.

“Last season, we were not as conditioned as we would have liked starting out. That is not an issue this year,” said Moe Cramer, entering his second season as the head coach of the varsity squad. “Our kids have bought into the philosophy this off-season.”

Tehachapi had 48 athletes try out for a spot on one of the three teams going into the season (frosh-soph Indians, junior varsity Braves and varsity Warriors). Only 15 will make the varsity team, and with final rosters set to be announced soon, every athlete is working as hard as they can to make the cut.

This past summer, the Warriors participated in a handful of tournaments all over California, reeling in impressive showings in Hanford, Orange County and Ventura. Tehachapi played 25 games in total, winning more than two-thirds of them.

At Hanford, Tehachapi performed so well in their tourney first round games that they looked to be title contenders. Unfortunately, the Warriors had to leave early to return home prior to the final day of competition. The team that eventually won the tournament lost to Mountain Basketball in a preliminary round game.

“The off-season games helped everyone get a better,” added Cramer. “(Fans) will see a great sense of commitment from our guys. We are going to be a get-in-your-face defense.”

The final roster will be displayed in next week’s issue of The Tehachapi News. Head coaches for each level are Moe Cramer (varsity), Bruce Schkade (junior varsity) and Scott Sheen (frosh-soph).

Tehachapi will scrimmage Centennial this week before taking on Stockdale in the season opener at Bakersfield this Friday, Nov. 15.

The Indians (4 p.m.) and Braves (5:15 p.m.) will open action prior to the Warriors varsity tip-off, slated for 6:30 p.m. at Stockdale High.

“We have depth. We have height. We have speed,” Cramer added. “There is a lot of energy. It’s going to be a very exciting year.”