A year removed from a trip to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 6AA playoffs has Pacifica Christian’s boys basketball team experiencing a few growing pains.

A team heavy on underclassmen has struggled to a 7-12 record, but Head Coach Kevin Kelsey sees more than just losses piling up.

He sees improvement.

“We’re hanging in there,” he said. “We’re getting better.”

Playing its first year in the Heritage League hasn’t made things easier for the Seawolves. After a 24-4 season last year, the powers that be moved them into a tougher league that has proven difficult to compete in. The Seawolves started league play 0-3, but a win over Los Angeles Lutheran on Tuesday gave Kelsey reason to believe that things are on an uptick.

“There’s no nights off,” Kelsey said of the new league. “We have to be more consistent.”

Most of the team’s steady contributions come from sophomore center Zach McMillan, who is averaging 19 points and 17 rebounds a contest. Kelsey said he’d like to feed him the ball even more, but opposing teams realize he’s their top performer and scramble extra defenders to deny him the ball in the post.

Kelsey said he expects the return of sophomore point guard JR Walker will take some of the burden off of McMillan.

Walker will start tonight against Hillcrest Christian at Willows Community School in Culver City at 7:30 p.m. This will be a rematch of a 84-68 Hillcrest victory.

Kelsey points to Hillcrest’s Britton Doerbecker as the man his frontcourt will have to stop. Instead of assigning Walker the task of slowing down Doerbecker and his 22 point average, he will give that job to guards Kevin Hammer and Chris Aronson.

He said he wants to “save” Walker’s energy for offense.

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