Published Feb. 1, 2024
BY DANIELA FOLEY
Currently preparing for showdown with Monterey on Friday, Feb. 2, the CHS boys’ varsity basketball team (16-2, 6-1 in PCAL), who have a current 2nd place in the Gabilan Division, led by coach Kurt Grahl, owe their current 16-2 overall record and win at the annual Carmel Invitational to dedication, commitment and consistency.
Grahl, a CHS teacher who has been coaching basketball for over 30 years, attributes the team’s success throughout this season to the work of the players, emphasizing how every player wants to improve and is willing to put in the necessary effort.
“Instead of dwelling on mistakes in games, we have the attitude of ‘Let’s see what’s wrong, let’s face it honestly, deal with it, and let’s practice and do what is needed to improve,’” explains Grahl. “That process has worked really well because these players show up every day wanting to be better which really helps.”
Similarly, Hans Schmidt, the team’s assistant coach, who has almost 30 years of coaching experience, notes that though there is no limit to the team’s success, the main goal of the team is daily improvement.
“We just want to get better every day, we have to get better every day, and if we do that, there are always opportunities,” says Schmidt. “If you are evaluating your season on outcomes, then just assessing your outcomes really devalues the efforts, experiences and moments that really make a season.”
In order to obtain this daily improvement, the team practices a rigorous six days a week, integrating consistent fundamental drills, while keeping players engaged through variation.
The annual Carmel Invitational Tournament displayed the efforts of the players and coaches paying off. The weekend prior to the tournament, the team experienced their first loss of the season against Menlo (72-61). Despite the loss, junior Simeon Brown scored a slamming 21 points for the Padres.
As shown on the court, the loss did not alter Carmel’s performance in the tournament whatsoever. After going undefeated through the first two games, Carmel went against Antelope, the prior year’s winning champions from Sacramento. Carmel ultimately dominated on the court, leaving Antelope with their biggest defeat thus far, with a final score of 90-73. Top scorers included Hudson Rutherford with 29 points, Jackson Lloyd with 21 and Brown with 17. Carmel was named champions for the first time since 2004 among nine teams.
Brown, who has an impressive average of 12.2 points per game and an average 3.5 rebounds, expresses the challenges of bouncing back from the loss against Menlo prior to the tournament.
“We came out prepared, and it didn’t matter who we ended up against,” says Brown. “We all did our jobs and anyone who was in our way got handled.”
On Jan. 3, the Padres scored the most points so far this season when playing Palma, ending with a whopping 92 points to Palma’s 52, a 40-point difference nothing short of jaw-dropping. The team was led by junior Warren Blut, who scored 21 points and had six rebounds and five assists, and Brown, who scored 14 points and gathered seven rebounds and four assists.
“Coach Grahl and Coach Schmidt have really helped us succeed this season,” says senior JT Maxon. “They are two of the top coaches around…and are incredibly smart, have good plays and know how to lead. They are a huge part of our success and strategy for success.”
The team faces Monterey, the current first place Gabilan Division team, on Friday in the CHS gym.