Boys’ basketball: Q&A with Bort Escoto

first_imgIn his 14th year as coach at Sylmar, Escoto has arguably one of his best teams ever heading into City Section postseason play. Guy Landry is an emerging force, Victor Rudd is developing into a star, Antonio Biglow is a heady floor leader, and Dwight Jones and Tyler Honeycutt have proven reliable from the perimeter, all while standout Mat Hankins has been out dealing with numerous injuries for the majority of the season. The Spartans (16-9) are one of the few area teams with a chance to make some noise in the Championship playoffs. It won’t be easy, though. Sylmar received the ninth seed amid some minor controversy and now must face one of the more difficult routes to the title game, beginning with Thursday’s first round game at home against perennial power Crenshaw (17-7). DN: Talk to me about your team’s chances. Crenshaw first, and if you manage to win, top-seeded Fairfax is going to be waiting for you guys in the second round. Do you feel like the City Section selection committee gave you guys a fair shot? BE: We got screwed. I told my assistant Charles White beforehand that we were going to get cheated. We were disappointed and angry when we learned where we ended up in the bracket. BE: Of course. How could you not? I’d be the answer to a pretty good trivia question if we win. Seriously, I’ve always admired Willie. I’ve patterned my program after his. I’d be rooting for him to win a title in his final year if we weren’t playing his team in the first round. DN: So the plan is, take out Willie and company, upset Fairfax and go on to win the championship at the L.A. Sports Arena on March 3rd … Are you going to guarantee that this group of yours is going to bring back a title to the San Fernando Valley? BE: I wouldn’t go that far. I can tell you this, we’re not the same team we were at the beginning of the season. We have all the pieces in place. We have the bodies. We have the horses and they’re ready to run. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img DN: What type of feedback have you gotten from your players, and are they overly discouraged? BE: No. Not really. I told them that there’s always going to be some bias when it comes to these things, so they were prepared. DN: Now what? Where do you go from here and how do you motivate the kids for the big-time challenge ahead? BE: We’re not going to cry about the situation. We’re men. We don’t care about being snubbed anymore. It is what it is. This is a hungry group, ready to show everyone what we’re about. Crenshaw is always good, so we can’t afford to look past them. And in order to win the City title, you have to beat Fairfax at some point. DN: Let’s talk a little more about Crenshaw, specifically coach Willie West. He’s a legend and plans on retiring after 39 years as the Cougars’ coach. Have you given much thought about his illustrious career – which includes eight Div. I state titles, 16 City Section championships since 1980 and more than 800 wins – ending with a loss in your gym? last_img read more