Hoops: Hawks fly high

Oakwood's Harsh Sikka goes up for a shot as Anchorpint's Josiah

Nate Schilling can shred a defense with his perimeter shot, but the pass-first point guard often earns his stripes by setting up teammates to score.
Justin Mortensen has just begun to unlock his potential, but the 6-foot-8 center already roams the paint like he owns it.
Together, the sophomores have helped Oakwood’s boys basketball program emerge as a likely contender for the Central Coast Section Division V title.
“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Mortensen said. “The chemistry between us can be deadly for other teams because we know what each other are going to do.”
And Oakwood could only be getting started.
The Hawks (10-3) start two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. Mortensen and Schilling form an inside-outside duo that has the team dreaming big today, but perhaps even bigger in the future.
“They have that presence between the two of them where it’s just really genuine,” Oakwood coach Kort Jensen said.
Schilling leads the Hawks in points (17.9) and assists (5.6) per game, but his most impressive statistic might be a 42-for-99 mark on 3-pointers. The 5-10 floor general has hit at least three 3-pointers in nine games this season.
“Nate is what they call a ‘knock-dead shooter,’” Jensen said. “He can shoot off the dribble, he can hit the mid-range and he’s money from the three-point line. He’s got a really high assist-to-turnover ratio. As much as he scores, he would rather set his teammates up.”
One of those teammates is Mortensen, who averages 16.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.
“Anybody who drives, (Mortensen) changes their shot,” Jensen said. “He really is a very good athlete. He runs the floor really well, has good hands, dunks with ease (and) has a nice mid-range jump shot. There aren’t a lot of 6-8 bigs floating around, let alone a 6-8 sophomore who’s still growing.”
Mortensen twice had six blocks in a game this season.
“I went to school with him in sixth grade through eighth grade, and just seeing the jump he’s made from then to now is huge,” Schilling said. “He changes a lot of shots inside.”
Shooting guard Jonathan Angulo has provided the Hawks a consistent all-around presence. The junior averages 9.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.8 steals.
“He gives a calming aspect to the team,” Mortensen said of Angulo. “He’s a really big team leader.”
But there’s more.
Junior forward Brett Hall has had two double-figure scoring games this season. Freshmen guards Ben Millward (3.8 steals per game) and Miles Batey (2.0 assists per game) provide backcourt depth, and center Harsh Sikka leads a core of seniors counted on for leadership.
Oakwood, a private school in Morgan Hill, has an enrollment of more than 80 students from throughout the South Valley. Jensen has helped build a basketball tradition while his program has a no-cut policy, meaning players who come out for the team are there to stay.
The Hawks open Coastal Athletic play against visiting Kirby Prep of Santa Cruz at 6 p.m. on Jan. 7. Players know the league slate will be challenging, but with the team already halfway to its goal of 20 wins, the Hawks have the CCS playoffs in their sights.
“I thought we had a chance to be this good. I didn’t know for sure if we’d be able, but after we had more practices, I saw we could have a pretty good team,” Schilling said. “We all have a lot of potential, and our coach has been working to get us where we are now.”

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