Home Sports Local Sports Cobos fosters family feeling as first-year coach

Cobos fosters family feeling as first-year coach

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Dexter boys basketball team during picture day. Dexter plays Santa Fe Prep 6 p.m. Saturday at home. (Submitted Photo)

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When first-year Dexter basketball coach Arthur Cobos took over as the coach, there were two things he insisted on from his players: One they run, and second, they have fun. Cobos was more concerned with keeping the family atmosphere with his son, Nick Cobos and cousin Joseph Cobos and their friends since they have played together during Little League in all the sports growing up. No matter what happens at Dexter on Saturday night against Santa Fe Prep, the Demons have already won as a team on the court and off.

“I never coached high school basketball,” coach Cobos said. “It was middle school girls’ basketball. I’ve had all my son’s friends; they’re juniors with him. They’ve gone through Little League with him. I was comfortable with the kids, but I was nervous myself, wondering if I could bring enough to the table for them.”

Coach Cobos has installed the high school version of the North Carolina offense here in Dexter. As soon as the ball drops through the net, he wants the person taking out the ball to be looking ahead and firing it up court as fast as possible. If that’s not an option, he wants the person inbounding the basketball to get it to the fastest player on the team and push the ball up court. Run, run, run, is what coach Cobos and his assistant Sonny Duran have preached all season.

“We can go 10 players deep,” coach Cobos said, “especially if we are pressing.”

Both men are into developing each player’s confidence as young men, teaching them that they are as good as anyone on the team, and there are no stars. If a player is having an off night, it is up to the next player to keep the team going. If a player is open, they are instructed to shoot the basketball.

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All of this after three monumental changes, in that Cobos has installed a completely new system in which they run more than they did last year and on defense, they will give teams 32 minutes of heck with their press. The other big difference is they lost guard Jonah Chavez, who has taken his talents to Goddard and is starting as point guard for the state-bound Rockets. They also lost the man in the middle, 6-foot-4, Dayton Harris to graduation.

This time last season, coach Cobos coached Dexter Middle School girls’ basketball for the last 10 years. One of the main differences Cobos has had to adjust to the speed of the game, and the intensity level for the boys compared to middle school.

This year, Dexter’s guard Jaime Chavira has stepped in and balled making the opportunity to start. He has scored when called upon, being named Alton’s Power Block Athlete of the Week, earlier in the season. Coach Cobos will play virtually the whole team as they get off the bus looking to run and press. If the Demons press is not working, look for them to settle into a variety of defenses depending on the team, they are playing.

The team has players who aren’t afraid of taking a shot if they have it, but the hot hand lately has been junior guard David Miramontes who dropped quick and quiet 37 points on Eunice to lead the Demons to a 73-65 win in overtime.

Miramontes can do it by the three-point shot, or he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim on an opponent. What shocks opponents that guard him are his strength and vertical, many opponents cannot match up with.

On the defensive end, look for stoppers Isaac Irigoyen and Nick Cobos to take the opponents toughest players.

“Those guys know their role,” coach Cobos said. “Those guys get in there and lock people down. I love to run the press if they are able to break that we will drop back into half-court defense and try to score off transition. We have speed everywhere. We have a couple of big boys, Jordan Marquez and Jaime Munoz.”

Finally, Jarren Amaro is healthy after missing the first eight games due to an ankle and groin injury, which he sustained in football. He is starting to find his basketball game and is counted on to produce and do big things in the tournament run. The only player who started varsity for the Demons last year was Joseph Cobos. Everyone else played junior varsity.

This team can expect big things in the future as it has nine juniors, three seniors and one sophomore in Jorge Carrasco.

Ah, yes. Saturday night brings a formidable opponent in Santa Fe, the Blue Griffins (14-8, 5-1 3A).

“We are still looking at film of Santa Fe Prep,” Cobos said. “It is kind of hard to prepare for them. We will try something and if it works, fine. If not, we can go big, or with our speed lineup. We can beat them with our numbers. I’m not afraid to keep our press on. If one of our players gets tired, the guy who takes his place is just as good as he is. That’s what’s good about this team. Other players step up.”

Cobos expects that Santa Fe will run man and zone defense depending upon the game. They will run a 1-3-1 zone and try to trap in the corners. Almost like a trap after Dexter gets the ball over half-court. Cobos wants to use the teams passing skills to break the press, but they have had trouble this season with the press.

“It is hard when you don’t get to see your opponent at all,” Cobos said. “We haven’t seen them play live. We’re just going off the film. I know they have Sam Sparks, a guard for Santa Fe Prep who is their go-to guy. Sparks doesn’t start but comes off the bench to average 18.3 points per game and is their leading scorer. He’s a ball handler who isn’t afraid to take it to the rack or shoot it. I think if we lead with our defensive guys, and they play hard we can hold him to under double digits. If we can do that we can kind of control the game.”

Dexter will be the No. 8 seed and take on the No.9 seed, which allows them a home game.

“The seniors we will be losing,” Cobos said. “My main goal was for our team to have fun. When our team is having fun, everything goes right for us. Our team is very unselfish with the ball. We are a team; we aren’t dependent on one or two people. To me, every one of those guys is good as the next one. I feel comfortable with any of our players taking the last shot. You can’t score if you don’t shoot.”

Cobos has found that the game moves faster at the high school level than at the middle school level. He has also figured out that he has had to adjust quickly as the game changes with each bounce of the ball. And that no matter the talent level that kids want to learn and be taught the fundamentals of the game of basketball.

“We are going into our home game with confidence,” Cobos said. “We know that we are playing in front of our home crowd. We have a lot of families that comes and watches the kids, and that makes us. I’ve learned so much about these kids that they come from all walks of life and that some of them are getting ready to go into the real world, it makes basketball seem small.”

Cobos has taught in Dexter for the past 11 years and is ingrained in the community.

“I believe this has been a fun year,” Cobos said.

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