Tehachapi freshmen boys coach Moe Cramer was waiting for his team to get with the program.
He didn't have long to wait.
The THS freshmen won the second annual Falcon Shootout basketball tournament Dec. 9-10 at Foothill in Bakersfield with a 28-22 victory over Stockdale.
"Getting the boys after junior high and teaching them my philosophy to get them ready for season was pivotal," said Cramer, who had most of his freshmen during Aztec Club Basketball last summer.
"If they continue to play this season like they did in the Foothill tourney, they should do very well."
The freshmen opened their preseason with a 62-32 victory over Centennial on Nov. 19. Matthew Finklea and Braydon Batson had 10 points apiece.
Then, in the Independence Frosh Tournament, the THS boys had trouble with Independence, finishing fourth after beating Frontier 30-8 and Stockdale 24-19. Brandon Neaderboamer of Tehachapi was named to the all-tournament team.
"The boys had a strong showing in their first two games, but lost sight of my strategy and gave into a track meet mentality against two strong Independence teams," Cramer said. "We'll have another shot at Indy on Feb. 1 in South Yosemite League play."
The THS boys started the Falcon Shootout with a 31-23 victory over Chavez as Neaderboamer had nine points, and Mathew Finklea added eight.
Nathaniel Betz scored eight points as Tehachapi beat Liberty 24-14, and the THS boys beat Foothill 39-14 as Grant Cowan had eight points. Jaimie Dayton hit two 3-pointers for Tehachapi.
Against Stockdale in the championship game, Neaderboamer had eight points, and Dayton and Betz had seven apiece.
"The boys stuck to the plan and played excellent defense with an in-your-face press that frustrated the competition," Cramer said. "Beating Liberty was huge."
Betz returned from a football injury just in time for the tourney and was named MVP.