Riding a 12-game winning streak, the Garfield High School boys basketball team is 16-3 overall and 3-0 in the Eastern League.
The Bulldogs defeated South Gate, 48-30, Tuesday and got past archrival Roosevelt, 50-44, last Friday.
Building from a core of returning players from last season’s 21-8 team, Coach Ricardo Rivas could have Garfield back in the City Division II championship game again this season.
“We’re a little bit better than we were at this time last season,” Rivas said. “We did much better against the nonleague teams we played this year and we’ve won 12 in a row.”
But he is quick to point out that there’s a long ways to go.
“Bell is also having a very good year and is going to be tough to beat,” he said. “We still have some areas of inconsistency, especially in our rebounding. Defensively, we’re on it, but we really need to get to work on the boards.”
Bell (9-4 overall) has also started Eastern League play 3-0. Garfield and Bell will square off Jan. 25 at Garfield and Feb. 8 at Bell.
Garfield is led by a pair of returning starters in forward Joe Joaquin and guard Francisco Aguilar. Joaquin scored 18 points and was credited with 12 rebounds in the Roosevelt game. He scored 12 points Tuesday at South Gate.
Aguilar scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs over South Gate.
Another key has been the stellar play of point guard Angel Camacho, a returning player who saw extensive play as a non-starter last season.
“He doesn’t score the points, but he drives, kicks out, dishes off and gets the steals,” Rivas said about the scrappy Camacho. “He shuts the down the opposing team’s best guard.”
Guard Richie Castro is another player who’s impressed this season since moving into a starting role.
“He was in the mix last season and is doing a great job for us this year,” Rivas said. “Camacho and Castro are really tough on defense. Aguilar hasn’t missed a step since last season.”
Garfield plays South East at 7 Friday night at home.