Boys Varsity Basketball · Athlete of the Week: Half Moon Bay’s Ethan Menzies

  • By Terry Bernal Daily Journal Staff

Half Moon Bay put on quite a show Friday night against boys’ basketball archrival Terra Nova. At the forefront, proving a master showman, was Cougars center Ethan Menzies.

What a first half the senior enjoyed. Menzies went for 24 points and nine rebounds throughout, with a majority of those numbers posted in a runaway opening half. It just wasn’t that Menzies netted 18 points prior to halftime, though, it was the way he did it with a performance that electrified the crowd at Half Moon Bay’s new off-campus facility at the Cabrillo Unified School District Event Center.

It’s this combination of performance and panache that has earned Menzies Daily Journal of the Week honors.

 Menzies and senior point guard Sam Treanor were expected to be primetime contributors when head coach John Parsons took over the team prior to the season. Half Moon Bay has graduated some serious talent over the two previous seasons as the duo of Menzies and Treanor have moved through the ranks.

This year, they served as the foundation of the reigning four-time Peninsula Athletic League North Division champs.

“I knew coming into the season we’d have Ethan and Sam, and they’re very special players,” Parsons said. “And they’ve been even better than I thought.”

 Half Moon Bay hoops had a tough act to follow after what the school’s football team achieved in the fall. The gridiron Cougars rallied for 14 straight wins, capturing the program’s first-ever Northern California championship and advancing to a state championship bowl game, the team’s only loss of the season.

What made the Cougars’ football accomplishment so remarkable is they did so in no-nonsense fashion. No flash. No pizzazz. Half Moon Bay’s historic season was built on two simple virtues — swarming tackles on defense, run it down opponents’ throats on offense.

Gauging by Half Moon Bay basketball’s performance Friday night, Cougars hoops are beasts of a different color.

 “We’ve got a couple guys who play with some flare,” Parsons said. “So I keep preaching we want to play with freedom within a structure. I feel it’s my job to kind of give them that structure. But give them the freedom to be creative and use their skills, and show their personality out on the floor.”

Menzies’ showmanship was testament to this. The 6-7 center rose to the occasion in front of a capacity crowd, putting down three slam dunks: one on a takeaway and fast-break dash to the cylinder, another to start the second quarter off an alley-oop pass from David Billington — one of his three assists, second only to seven assists by Treanor — and the finale on a baseline drive powering straight through the Terra Nova post defense.

Amid his slam-dunk antics, Menzies added a graceful reverse layup, driving the baseline and under the hoop to drop a picturesque finger-roll off the glass.

What the basketball and football teams of Half Moon Bay have in common is the clockwork brilliance of teamwork. And like the football team that highlighted several players who grew up excelling together, the foundation of Menzies and Treanor playing together for five years running now is the reason they flow so well.

“We’ve just always played with each other,” Menzies said. “So we have a bunch of chemistry.”

The two probably would have grown up playing together, but the Half Moon Bay native Menzies made several pit stops along the way before returning home to the Coastside. In grade school, his family moved north to Healdsburg. Then they relocated to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Since returning to Half Moon Bay in the eighth grade, Menzies has built his three-year varsity career fashioning his play, and his leadership, after some of the Cougars that have come before him, specifically 2015 graduate Tommy Nuño, a first-team all-PAL North forward who also brought his share of panache to the floor.

“Tommy Nuño, I really look up to him,” Menzies said. “I was playing behind him my sophomore year, my freshman year. So, I just really look up to him. I saw him leading the team and that’s what I want to do this year.”

The Cougars also want to take a page out of the football team’s book by making a run at the Northern California bracket. Unlike the football team, Half Moon Bay hoops are no strangers to the Nor Cal playoffs. The Cougars first advanced to Nor Cals in 2011-12 and have qualified for the bracket every year since.

What stands to differentiate the 2017-18 Cougars though? It just might go back to that football team, with three players from it — Gavin Tomberlin, Hayden Von Almen and Jake Quosig — having recently joined the basketball fray.

“They brought a whole lot of energy to practice, they brought a whole lot of intensity,” Parsons said. “They brought their spirit, their camaraderie. They’re definitely three of our biggest characters. They bring energy, they lighten the mood, and they really know how to toe that line between having fun and focusing and playing hard.”