HMB head of D4 class
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Austin Hilton leads the Cougars in scoring with 15 points per game
Half Moon Bay isn't your typical Division IV public school. At 20-0 and ranked No. 15 in the NCP Top 20, the Cougars have their eyes set on section and regional prizes.
In 2013-2014, Half Moon Bay went 26-7 and reached the Division IV NorCal semi-finals. However, they graduated senior leaders Rico Nuno (Diablo Valley College) and Corey Cilia (UC Santa Cruz).
"It has definitely surpassed expectations so far," Half Moon Bay head coach Rich Forslund said of this season. "We had what I consider the best team in school history last year."
The 2014-2015 squad is working on taking that title behind a cast of new players and returnees which creates a starting line-up of 6-foot-0 or better at each spot. It started over the summer with a win at the Bay Area Memorial Day Classic against a solid line-up of club teams at City College of San Francisco.
"It definitely gave some confidence that they can play at that level," Forslund said.
Flash forward to this winter and 6-foot-6 junior Austin Hilton has helped fill in for the departed Rico Nuno while leading the team in points (15.3) and rebounds after playing frosh-soph last year. 6-foot-7 senior Case DuFrane is having his most consistent season, according to Forslund, and averages 12 points per game. 6-foot-3 junior Tommy Nuno is the third player averaging double figures.
Forslund credits the work in the weight room under James Salinero (father of junior Jake Salinero) as fine tuning a young Cougars' squad.
"We've worked hard in the weight room and it has made an impact on how we competed," Forslund said. "It's an area we can control."
In their marquee regular season game, the Cougars beat St. Patrick/St. Vincent (51-45).
"I thought it would be great for us, win or lose," Forslund said of scheduling the Bruins. "It was our midterm and so far we are doing well in the class."
Forslund, who came to Half Moon Bay in 2009 after a , has led the Cougars to back-to-back NorCal appearances and are ranked No. 1 in Division IV as we approach February. They are also in line for a return trip to the Central Coast Section Open Division.
Can Half Moon Bay reach its first regional final in school history?