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Seniors Bockhorn, Lichau embracing new roles for Peninsula boys basketball in summer league

Peninsula High School senior guard Roman Bockhorn discusses Seahawks’ summer league

Peninsula High School senior guard Roman Bockhorn discusses Seahawks’ summer league
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Peninsula High School senior guard Roman Bockhorn discusses Seahawks’ summer league

After a disappointing 2018-19 season that saw the Seahawks miss out on the postseason, the Peninsula High School boys basketball team is looking to bounce back this summer.

Here are a few questions and observations from summer ball.

Who replaces Tyler Spurlock at point guard?

It’s maybe the most glaring hole in the squad after Spurlock’s graduation. The Arizona Christian signee was a steady presence at the point guard position for the Seahawks and was also the team’s go-to scorer, averaging 16.1 points per game for the Seahawks. His departure leaves the Seahawks in need of a floor general heading into the 2019-20 season.

“We’re searching for a point guard still,” said Peninsula coach Matt Robles. “We’ve started a little slow because we’re all trying to figure out where we fit into the bigger picture with five guys on the floor. We’ve had some bumps on the road the past two, three weeks. But we’ve learned a lot and it’s been a lot of fun. From that first weekend, we’ve really grown.”

One player who has taken on some increased point guard duties this summer in the Curtis Summer League is senior Roman Bockhorn, who had a breakout season last year as the team’s best perimeter shooter. While Bockhorn’s more natural position is at shooting guard, he knows he’ll have to pick up some of the slack handling the ball in the backcourt.

“I’ve been working really hard this offseason on my dribbling and ball handling,” Bockhorn said. “I’ve kind of struggled a little bit, I’m still working on it. I’m hoping to get better throughout the season and replace that role. … I haven’t really been a point guard so it’s new to me. I’m willing to take it on.”

Seniors Bockhorn, Lichau are the team’s go-to scorers

Speaking of Bockhorn, he figures to be the team’s primary scoring option this season, alongside 6-foot-8 senior forward Kaleb Lichau.

“They’ve embraced it, but they still don’t know what it entails,” Robles said. “So they’re embracing it every day. They were aggressive (in Monday’s summer league game against Emerald Ridge), but they’ve had a couple games where they haven’t been ultra-aggressive, but we’re encouraging them to be aggressive, and be our scorers.

“It’s not a secret, everyone knows who they are, so it’s just about embracing that challenge and having a scorer’s mentality. They’ve taken that challenge head on.”

Lichau has shown flashes of being a dominant player over his high school career. As a senior, he’ll look to be a more assertive player.

“I like having the ball in my hands,” Lichau said. “I’m working on being more efficient. Just getting stronger, working on my ball handling, working on my defense.”

Lichau has worked to round out his game over the years, from being solely a rim-protector and 3-point shooter to being more of a low-post threat and being able to score off the dribble.

“It used to be all of my game — block shots and shoot 3’s,” Lichau said. “But my game is starting to expand.”

Bockhorn said the duo is up for the challenge.

“We’ve been here the last four years,” he said. “We know it’s our senior year and this is our time. We’re ready for it.”

Finishing strong

Peninsula’s basketball team has plenty of multi-sport athletes. That’s a good thing, in the eyes of Robles, but it also presents its share of challenges in building a team during the summer, with players missing time due to commitments in other sports. While Peninsula has started slow this summer, Robles is looking for his team to finish strong, starting with a trip to the Gonzaga University team camp next week.

“We just want to grow,” Robles said. “We’re a little behind with some fundamental stuff and some offensive and defensive things. If we can find a way to find our roles and piece this thing together, I think we’ll have a good season in the winter.”

To Lichau, it comes down to building on the foundation that’s been set.

“Just sticking with it and trusting the process,” he said.