Much like the girls team, the Live Oak boys basketball team heads into the 2008 season missing a majority of their 2007 starters and counting on young players to contribute a lot.

Much like the girls team, the Live Oak boys basketball team heads into the 2008 season missing a majority of their 2007 starters and counting on young players to contribute a lot.


The Lions reached the section playoffs last year, but graduated Bo Kanada, Juan Robles, James Fox, Daniel Gonzalez and Alex Negrete, who were all starters for at least some of last season. They also lost Josh Epperson and Colton Smith, who played big roles off the bench.


The lone returning starter is Sumeet Pamma, who will start again in 2008. He'll be joined by new varsity players Markus Hackett, Paul Kang, Rahmain Qayum and sophomore Tony Montes.


They might be young and inexperienced at the varsity level, but they're a talented, fast and athletic group.


"We're just going to have to catch up to that varsity level," coach Buljit Dhami said. "Over time I think we'll be OK. I think early in the season we'll be fighting for it. We've got some pretty big schools that we're going to play in preseason, which is good for them. For a young team to be able to play against these bigger schools, it helps us down in league."


Live Oak opens the season at Sutter, and has to play Concord and San Juan in preseason tournaments.


While the youth of the team is a concern, Dhami thinks they can surprise some teams with their athleticism. Sophomore Montes has had some impressive practices in the last couple weeks.


"It's going to be exciting to see what he can do in a game," he said.


When the team gets some games under their belt, Dhami will be able to see their true potential.


"We don't have a whole lot of height, so rebounding's going to be key for us," he said. "If we can control the boards, we'll be right in every game."