By The Telegram

In his first year as the head coach, Shane Burns led the Deerfield boys basketball team to nine more wins than the year before and an appearance in the Class 1A sub-state tournament. Now, the second-year coach looks to lead the Spartans even higher.

"I feel like we are ahead of where we were last year," Burns said. "We have two returning starters and a few kids with a lot of varsity experience."

Coming off a 14-10 season in which the Spartans will be without point guard David Gonzalez, who graduated and was a Telegram All-area pick, Deerfield does return Cris Martinez and Julio Gonzalez. Martinez, a 6-foot senior guard averaged eight points, six rebounds and four assists last season, while Gonzalez, at 6-3, almost averaged a double-double at nine points and nine rebounds.

"The kids are working very hard this year so far," Burns said. "I am very pleased with our numbers and with the work ethic. We are coming off of a great season last year and I hope we can continue the success."

What success the Spartans do have this season will depend on some of the inexperienced players. Deerfield does return more upperclassmen that Martinez and Gonzalez as 6-3 senior Cameron Cole and 6-4 junior Brennan Wood will lend a hand with height for the Spartans.

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It doesn't take Deerfield girls coach Doug Crandall to point out his team's potential weakness this season. And he's just as quick to tell the silver lining.

"We will be a very young team," he said, "but we will play with an attitude and will play hard."

The good news for the Lady Spartans is they return eight members from last season. Which may be just what Deerfield needs to improve on its 4-17 finish. Guard Yassmin Soto, who despite standing just 5-4, is the teams lone senior. Juniors Michelle Hernandez and Kaitlin Morgan give the Lady Spartans some much needed height, along with sophomore post Mariah Smith (5-10).

"We will have several young players that will gain experience at the varsity level," Crandall said.

Along with Hernandez and Morgan, Danielle Petz is the only other junior. Deerfield does return four sophomores with varsity experience, and will count on freshman Hailey Novack to provide depth on the young team.



Boys coach: Shane Burns, 2nd season

2008-2009 Boys Record: 14-10

Returning starters: Cris Martinez (6-0, Sr. G); Julio Gonzalez (6-3, Sr. F).

Top newcomers: Cameron Cole (6-3, Sr.); Beto Martinez (5-10, Sr.); Brennan Wood (6-4, Jr.).

Coach: Doug Crandall, 2nd season (7th overall at Deerfield)

2008-2009 Girls Record: 4-17

Top returners: Bridget Crandall (5-5, So.); Dulce Vides (5-5, So.); Michelle Hernandez (5-8, Jr.); Mariah Smith (5-10, So.); Danielle Pettz (5-5, Jr.); Yassmin Soto (5-4, Sr.); Kaitlin Morgan (5-7, Jr.); Genesis Rivera (5-3, So.).

Newcomers: Hailey Novack (5-5, Fr.)