The 2019-2020 season saw four teams from the Big 8 Conference make the post season. Santa Rosa was one of the last teams standing and found themselves in the Elite Eight in Lemoore before Covid 19 shut down the season. Sacramento, Diablo Valley and San Joaquin Delta all made the post season. The Big 8 is one of the most competitive conferences and we do not see it being any different for the upcoming season. Santa Rosa appears to be the favorite, but as usual this conference will be tough from top to bottom and teams within the conference will not have any nights off while playing eachother.
2021-2022 Signal The Light Basketball Big 8 Conference Preview
Santa Rosa (23-7, 13-3): The Bearcubs have an outstanding 2019-2020 which saw the Northern California school win the Big 8 Conference with a 13-3 record. Santa Rosa was rewarded with a six seed and picked up victories against West Valley and followed that up with a road victory over 3rd seeded Columbia which led them to a place in the Elite Eight. The Bearcubs were scheduled to play East Los Angeles but the 2019-2020 games at the Elite Eight were shut down early due to Covid 19.
Coming into the new season Santa Rosa will return four players as the Bearcubs look to repeat as champions of the Big 8 Conference. “6-2” Shannon Ferguson will return for his sophomore season after averaging 8.9 points in his freshman campaign. “6-8” Edward Turner will also return for Santa Rosa as the sophomore averaged 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest. “6-3” Garrett Siebels (2.5 points) and “6-5” Nathan Capurro (5.7 points) will both add sophomore experience to the Bearcubs. “6-0” Tyler McLean a Santa Monica City College transfer and “6-0” Aaron Porcil a transfer from Sonoma State will also be sophomores that could contribute. “6-7” Riley Smith, “6-7” Justin Smith, “6-7” Christian Jermigan, “6-5” Austin Ehrlicher will all be freshmen that could help the Bearcats this upcoming season. Looking deeper into things, Santa Rosa has been the team to beat in the Big 8 Conference as the Bearcubs have won 3 of the last 4 Big 8 championships. The Bearcubs were an Elite Eight team a year ago and with that being said they will be the favorite in the conference for the 2021-2022 season.
Sacramento (20-9, 11-5): The Panthers are coming off a season in which they finished in a three way tie for 2nd place in the Big 8 Conference. Sacramento won 20 games and picked up a 9th seed in the post season. The Panthers went on the road but lost to College of the Redwoods to end their 2019-2020 season.
The Panthers return two players from the 20 win team in the 2019-2020 season. “6-0” Jake Paxton returns for his second season after averaging 7.9 points and 4.3 assists in his freshman season. “6-4” Chris Gray returns and will provide experience for the Panthers. “6-5” Jeb Boyette returns back after having his freshman season in 2018-2019 and “6-3” Marcus Robinson is coming in from Cosumnes River and should provide Sacramento with some back court depth after averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds. “6-6” Khyri Marshall (Fairfax HS – Arizona), and “6-3” Andrew Ferrara-Jones (West Campus HS). The Panthers won 20 games in 2019-2020 and will look to make another post season appearance. Sacramento lost a lot of their scoring output but even with that being said, we expect the Panthers to be in the upper half in the log jammed Big 8 Conference for the 2021-2022 season.
Diablo Valley (19-11, 11-5): The Vikings are another post season story from the Big 8 Conference. Diablo Valley won 19 games and finished in a three way tie for second place. The Vikings were seeded 18th and picked up a first round victory against Chabot, but suffered a defeat in the 2nd round against 2nd seeded Fresno to end their 2019-2020 season.
Two players from the 2019-2020 season return for the Vikings for the upcoming season. “6-1” Aaryn Anderson (1.2 points), and “6-1” Diego Paredes (4.7 points) both will provide sophomore experience for Diablo Valley. “6-2” Mark Johnson will be the other sophomore and will look to contribute for the upcoming season. “6-6” Casey Cappo (Las Lomas HS) will add versatility to the team as a freshman, “6-4” Tyler Brinkman (Salesian HS), “6-3” Gorday Lindsay (Las Lomas HS), “6-4” Josh Niusulu (Alameda HS) and “6-0” Malik Edwards (Deer Valley HS) will look to contribute in their first season for the Vikings. In the upcoming year we expect Diablo Valley to be a competitive bunch and be right in the mix of things.
San Joaquin Delta (19-11, 11-5): The Mustangs won 19 games in the 2019-2020 season and finished in a three way tie for 2nd place in the Big 8 Conference. The 19 wins put them into the post season with a 16th seed but the Mustangs suffered a 2nd round loss against top seeded City College of San Francisco.
San Joaquin Delta will look to get back into the post season after winning 19 games in 19-20. “6-5” Jaedon Malone returns for his second season with the Mustangs after averaging 4.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in his freshman season. “6-10” Vince Olmo (Rippon HS) will add size to the front court, “6-4” Kendrieck Curry (Sierra HS), “5-9” Dayton Magana (Central Catholic HS), “6-2” Justin Garcia (Transfer from Adams State), and Nico Levitt (Lincoln HS) will look to contribute for the Mustangs. Delta will look to have a competitive season but we see San Joaquin Delta finishing in the middle of the pack for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
American River (12-14, 7-9): The Beavers finished the 2019-2020 season in a tie for 5th place in the Big 8 Conference. American River won 12 games and missed the post season as the Beavers will look to have a better 2021-2022 season. Not much information was provided at the time of press.
Modesto (11-17, 7-9): The Pirates finished Big 8 Conference action in a tie for 5th place in the 2019-2020 season. Modesto missed the post season after finishing with 11 wins and will look to have an improved 2021-2022 season.
The Pirates return three players from their 2019-2020 season as Modesto looks to have a better season. “6-1” guard Jacob Staton returns to the Pirates for his sophomore season after averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in his freshman season. Staton shot 39% from downtown and will look to have his numbers jump from his first season. “6-5” Blake Greenlee returns as the sophomore averaged 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in his freshman season. “6-1” Joseph Perez will add sophomore experience to the team as he saw limited action in his first year. “6-3” Merritt transfer Joe Okitukunda will add sophomore experience as a newcomer to the roster. “6-1” Justin Powell (College Prep Academy), “6-0” Lydell King (East Union HS), “6-3” Josh Govett (Hughson HS), “6-5” Atzin Marin (Orestimba HS) and “6-4” Carlos Hernandez (Gregori HS) will all look to contribute for the Pirates in the 2021-2022 season. Modesto looks to be in the middle of the pack for the upcoming season. The Pirates will be competitive but will they have enough size to compete with bigger teams that they face this upcoming season.
Sierra (8-20, 5-11): The Wolverines had a down season in the 2019-2020 season after winning 8 games. In conference action, Sierra College struggled and finished in 7th place and missed the post season. NOT MUCH INFORMATION PROVIDED AT THE TIME OF PRESS.
Folsom Lake (7-21, 4-12): The Falcons will look to have an improved season after winning 7 games and finishing in 8th place in the Big 8 Conference.
The Falcons return three key pieces from the 2019-2020 season and will look to be an improved team. “6-6” Pierce Rexford leads the list of returnees back for the Falcons as the sophomore averaged 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds in his freshman season. Rexford made 35 three pointers in his first season and stretches the floor for Folsom Lake. “5-11” Jaylen Solich returns as to the squad and the point guard averaged 6.6 points and 3.2 assists in his first season for the Falcons. “6-8” Tre Adams returns as the big man averaged 4.9 points and 5.1 rebounds and will give the Falcons some size to their front court. “6-3” Yaadvir Dhaliwal (Cosumnes River transfer) will come in and add some shooting and depth to the court “6-9” Dane Johnson, “6-0” Cameron Wall (Folsom HS), “6-4” Joseph Schneider (El Dorado HS), and “6-4” Phil Polezhako (Futures HS) will be freshman that could contribute for Folsom Lake in the 2021-2022 season. As the season approaches, Folsom Lake should be an improved team that could compete with anyone in the conference. The Falcons will be an improved team and should make a jump in wins for the upcoming season.
Cosumnes River (9-19, 3-13): In the 2019-2020 season, Cosumnes River struggled to a last place finish in the Big 8 Conference. The Hawks won 9 games and failed to make the post season after going 6-6 in non conference action.
The Hawks will return two key pieces from their 2019-2020 season. Leading the way is “6-1 guard Andre Huddleston as the sophomore guard averaged 10.8 points and 2.4 assists in his first season with the Hawks. He will provide leadership and scoring for Cosumnes River in the upcoming season. “6-10” traditional back to the basket big man Dillon Iywae returns to the Hawks for his second season. In his first season, Iywae averaged 7.0 points and a team high 7.4 rebounds. “6-5” Kaleb Drake (Laguna Creek HS) will be a player that could have a solid impact for Cosumnes River this upcoming season. The freshman has good size and will be expected to contribute this season. “6-3” Ja’Rod Webb (Florin HS), “6-2” Kyree Dunn (Burbank HS), are two other names that we could see a lot this season for the Hawks as both players add depth to the back court for the Hawks. “6-5” Jordan Burciaga (Manteca HS) is another freshman that could contribute this season and will add defensive versatility for Cosumnes River. The Hawks will look to have an improved season after losing four games by five points or less in conference action in 2019-2020. We expect the Hawks to be an improved team and be fairly competitive for the upcoming 2021-2022 season.