Rocklin basketball coaches selected to helm of Optimist games
With a combined record of 40-20 for both boys and girls basketball this season, Rocklin High coaches Rob Ferraro (girls) and Casey Cutts (boys) were selected to coach the North teams for the 36th annual Optimist All-Stars Basketball games to be held at Center High School this Saturday.
After barely wrapping up their 2012-13 campaigns, the two are back in the gym coaching some athletes they worked hard to beat this season. Now they have a chance to use all that talent to go against the players from the South high schools.
“It’s a great honor, there’s no question about that and so far I’ve been very fortunate to be with a great group of young ladies that I’m starting to get to know,” said Ferarro during a late practice last week. “I’m glad to be getting a chance to clap for (them) when (they) score instead of having to cringe and try and figure out how to stop (them).”
In the lineup for both the boys and girls will be Thunder players also selected to play. Cutts now has one more game with his seniors Drew Ardisonne and Devin Moss. Ferraro will have Lydia Summers and Jaime Curtis on his roster.
Ferraro laughed when telling the story of how he informed Summers she was a member of the team. He told her over the telephone he had good news and bad news. The good was the fact Summers’ high school basketball career wasn’t yet over; the bad news was she’d have to play one more game with him as her coach.
Ferraro said having to coach some of the top talent in the area really hasn’t been that hard.
“I try not to do too much. These girls are all very, very talented players. They’ve had different styles that they come from, different coaching philosophies,” he said. “The biggest challenge is trying to get everybody together at the same time.”
Ferraro said the bonding between players who had been rivals during the season came together amazingly fast. What made it easy was what he called their basketball IQ. He said they not only caught on quickly but knew their roles in every scheme no matter what position they played.
The camaraderie at practice was evident. The girls were quick to make friends and seemed to have no problem following Ferraro’s requests when on the floor.
Del Oro’s Stephanie Geyer said she wasn’t expecting it to be that way.
“I really wanted to show up and honestly was hoping that everybody was really mean and I could come back and say all those girls from the rival teams are just awful,” Geyer said, laughing at her own words, “but we all get along really well. We’re all really competitive; we have a good time at practice. They’re great girls to play with.”
Like many of the athletes making up the Optimist teams, Geyer is on scholarship. She will attend West Point after graduating from Del Oro and play basketball for the Cadets of Army.
Ferraro said it’s like having the family in the game. Ferraro helped coach Cutts when he played for the Thunder before Ferraro took over the girls basketball program. He also praised Summers as perhaps making him look better as a coach than he really was.
36th Optimist All-Star Basketball Games
North vs. South, Center High School
Saturday, March 30
North Girls – 4 p.m. High School
Tyler Ellis Antelope
Teryn Jackson Bella Vista
Deija Smith Center
Stephanie Geyer Del Oro
Brianna Ruiz Del Oro
Courtney Brignac El Camino
Quashonna Johnson Encina
Miakah McCauley Foothill
Nicole Lierly Nevada Union
Kerry McCullough Placer
Elizabeth Moulton Rio Americano
Lydia Summers Rocklin
Jaime Curtis Rocklin
Mary-Clare Bosco Sacramento Country Day
Aliya Davis Woodcreek
Coach: Rob Ferraro, Assistants: Pete Winter, Tori Johnson – Rocklin
North Boys – 6 p.m. High School
Gabe Bealer Antelope
Isaiah Ellis Antelope
Justin Beskeen Bear River
Tyler Berknes Bella Vista
Ahmad Smith Bella Vista
Eric Stuteville Casa Roble
Will Buell Colfax
Semir Cahtarevic Del Campo
Trevor Pistochini Del Oro
Anthony Williams Foothill
Anthony Pedersen Granite Bay
De'Sean Parsons Grant
Isaiah Piniero Placer
Drew Ardissone Rocklin
Devin Moss Rocklin
Coach: Casey Cutts, Assistants: Terry Tangney, J.J. Barnette – Rocklin
“It’s a great honor and thrill for both of us … to be coaching the North team in the Optimist game,” Ferraro said, referring to Coach Cutts and himself. “I think that speaks volumes with what we (at Rocklin) do with kids and the kind of impact we have on them.”
The Optimist games are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors (65 and older); students are $5 and those 12 under admission is $3.
Optimist International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth.