Oakdale’s varsity boys basketball team added two new faces to the program just as the squad took on league action. Senior Louis Marsella and junior Stanley Thomas made their season debuts for the Mustangs on Friday night. The Mustangs fell to visiting Kimball 55-23. In the loss, Marsella posted a team high five points and five rebounds for the Mustangs, who are now sitting at a 1-12 overall record and 0-2 in Valley Oak League play.
“I’ve been working on this (return) for a week now, getting back into playing shape and learning both the offense and defense,” said Marsella about his return to the lineup.
Thomas, a junior transfer from Monterey Trail High School, arrived to Oakdale on Wednesday and suited up for the Mustangs on Friday night in front of the home crowd.
“There was much love for me in the locker room and even on campus. People were showing me around and giving me a brief history on the team. As far as tonight and the rest of the season, this is a learning experience for me. There is a lot of basketball to play and I just hope that I can contribute to the team in a positive way,” said the 6’ 3” junior.
The Mustangs, coming off a 59-21 road loss to Sierra on Tuesday, Jan. 5 to open the league season, started off the night sluggish. Kimball (8-8, 2-0) steamrolled Oakdale with an 18-0 run forcing first year head coach Hondo Arpoika to take a time out with 2:52 left to play in the first quarter. Oakdale’s Nick Woody scored the Mustangs’ first field goal of the game on a jumper with 1:18 left in the first quarter. Oakdale trailed 25-5 at the end of the first quarter. Oakdale trailed 41-11 after two quarters of play. Down 51-11 with 48.9 seconds left in the third quarter, Marsella scored Oakdale’s lone field goal of the quarter when he got an offensive rebound and put back.
Oakdale made a strong effort in the final minutes of the game as the Mustangs opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run and outscored Kimball 9-1 to finish the game.
“The score did not indicate the boys’ effort tonight. The boys did not quit; they went after loose balls, pulled down rebounds and played hard all night,” noted coach Arpoika. “Those are building blocks for the season and it’s starting to come together for us. Those are some positives from tonight. We are still in the building block phases of the game. The second half, the boys made adjustments; we just need make those adjustments faster.”
Oakdale is now facing a four game road trip that began on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Weston Ranch, the game held after The Leader’s press time. The squad will wrap up the long road stretch on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Manteca. Oakdale returns home on Friday, Jan. 22 when they host East Union with tipoff at 7:15 p.m.