With the basketball schedule nearing the halfway mark, the Warriors have already put together an impressive resume to stake their claim as a contender in the SEYL and CIF playoffs.
Playing in the Garces Tournament this past week, Mountain Basketball defeated old SSL rival Bakersfield Christian (57-52) and defending CIF Division III champion Independence (65-58), bookending the victories with an impressive victory over Frontier (65-43).
Tehachapi (9-5) was led in the Independence win by Caeleb Roney, who had a double-double 10 points and 12 rebounds and four blocks. Johnson was the leading scorer with 22 points, followed by strong games from Dakota Medovitch with 15 rebounds and eight points and Chris Llamas with 10 points and five assists. Others scoring in the contest was Micah Fjeld with eight points and Jonny Saavedra with six points.
"The win against Independence was good for us. It was a great opportunity for us to take down a team we could potentially see down the road in the playoffs," said head coach Chris Olofson. "It was an up-and-down tournament overall, we had some good wins. If we can bring the same intensity every game we are going to be tough to beat."
Against Bakersfield Christian to open the tournament, the Warriors had 15 points from Johnson and 11 points from Fjeld, with Roney and Medovitch both adding seven points apiece. Johnson was the leading scorer against Frontier with 21 points, followed by Medovitch with 10 points, Llamas with eight points and Roney with six points. Phil Baquerizo, Jacob Burt, Gilbert Gutierrez, Andrew Borst, Saavedra and Fjeld also contributed with a combined 20 points.
The Warriors also had a pair of losses in the tournament against runner-up Liberty (60-39) and Lemoore (74-65). Thomas Blewett had six points against Liberty, while Medovitch and Saavedra both had a team-high 18 points apiece against Lemoore.
Tehachapi had a pre-season contest against California City this past Tuesday and those highlights will be covered next week. The Warriors will be in action against Frontier next Tuesday, Jan. 14 starting at 6:30 p.m.
"We have league coming up and we want our guys to get that edge. The SEYL is very competitive," added Olofson. "We have a young team, sure, but that doesn't mean that we can't compete and achieve our long-term goals this season. They have the ability and talent to do something special this year, if they want it bad enough."