At the conclusion of last season, Aptos said goodbye to four starters whom combined for 40.1 points and 20.1 rebounds per game. Yet the Mariners this season finished with more wins than last winter and won their first Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League championship since the 2014-15 season.
The coaches of the SCCAL determined first-year coach Brian Bowyer played a big role in the program’s impressive bounce back season, recently naming him the Coach of the Year.
Bowyer, a longtime assistant who stepped in for former coach Joseph Smith, guided the new-look Mariners to an 18-12 overall record, an SCCAL title and a runner-up finish in the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs to eventual regional finalist Monterey.
The SCCAL also recognized seniors Max Pepperdine and Hunter Matys, as both tall athletic wings were named to the league’s first team.
Pepperdine missed a large portion of the SCCAL regular season with a foot injury, but returned just in time to help his team win a share of the league title. He dropped 12 points, five rebounds and two assists in the Mariners’ win over Santa Cruz in the SCCAL tournament final.
Pepperdine, the lone returning starter from last year’s squad, averaged 14.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game over 22 games.
Matys helped fill Pepperdine’s absence during the SCCAL regular season by averaging 9.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.8 assists over the course of the team’s 10-game league slate.
Santa Cruz senior forward Robert Bishop and junior guard Zavier Hill-Kemp were named SCCAL co-M.V.P.s.