Agoura opens season on strong note

Poirier is league MVP candidate; three young guards propel backcourt



SCORING MACHINE—Joseph “Jojo” Poirier, a senior wing for the Agoura High boys’ basketball team, pulls up for a jumper over Royal’s Tim Andreolli during the Chargers’ 56-41 win on Nov. 25 at home. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers

SCORING MACHINE—Joseph “Jojo” Poirier, a senior wing for the Agoura High boys’ basketball team, pulls up for a jumper over Royal’s Tim Andreolli during the Chargers’ 56-41 win on Nov. 25 at home. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers

Joseph Poirier loves classic movies. His favorite film is “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

The Agoura High boys’ basketball player is starring in his own masterpiece on the hardwood.

In the season opener, Poirier, who is called “Jojo” by family and friends, dropped 25 points on Simi Valley in Agoura’s 57-49 win on Nov. 20. He scored a career-high 30 points in a win against Holy Martyrs 10 days later.

Poirier

Poirier

Poirier, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound senior wing, has helped Agoura gallop to a 6-3 record.

He compared the Chargers to the Lakers. Both teams are young and exciting to watch—and six players on Agoura’s roster can dunk.

“That’s like a record for Agoura probably,” Poirier said.

“It’s weird. I used to be the only one dunking,” said junior center Chase Gibson, who started throwing down jams in eighth grade. “It’s cool to watch our progression. It’s nice to have some athletic, tall guys.”

Poirier and Gibson are returning starters. The backcourt, however, is entirely revamped.

Jack Elliot, Cyrus Sarkary and Shane Feldman are junior guards. They’re new to varsity, but they can all hang with the trees in the forest.

Gibson

Gibson

Elliot is a traditional point guard in the mold of Chris Paul; the youngster can penetrate, drive and kick the ball to open teammates, and he’s learning from his mistakes.

Sarkary is a dynamic combo guard who weaves in and out of traffic like Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets. Sarkary, the team’s second-leading scorer, knocks down open jumpers.

Feldman, the younger brother of Agoura legend Ky Feldman, a junior guard for Syracuse University, is a crafty defender with good instincts. Shane Feldman leads Agoura in steals.

“We’re young, new kids, but we all have talent,” Sarkary said. “We’re fun to watch.”

Elliot

Elliot

Conley Oliver, now in his fourth season leading Agoura, is trying to get the most out of his charges.

“This team can score in so many different ways,” Oliver said. “We have a post player, Chase. We can push it. We can slow it down and be disciplined. They’re fun guys. They’re nice— a little too nice.”

Offense isn’t an issue. The defense, however, is a work in progress.

Oliver enjoys playing the three junior guards together—they work well moving the ball on offense— but their lack of size has been an issue on the other end of the court.

Poirier is the face of the team.

The senior can score in a plethora of ways, from draining 3-point rainbows to attacking the hoop relentlessly for lay-ups.

“He’s our most physical guy, and he’s our best scorer right now,” Oliver said of Poirier. “He’s really stepped up defensively and rebounding as well.”

Sarkary

Sarkary

Poirier, who sports a 3.5 gradepoint average, said he likes this team’s energy and enthusiasm.

The Charger, who coached the fourth-grade AYBA Thunder to a league championship last year, is still coaching youth basketball. He has a passion for the game— his parents snapped a photo of Jojo in the crib as a baby sleeping with a ball in his hands.

“I love playing with other people,” Poirier said. “Basketball is a perfect balance between athleticism and skill.”

Gibson, who is 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, patrols the paint for the Bolts.

He’s got a solid back-to-the-basket game. The Charger is not afraid to hoist midrange shots, but he’s still working on extending his range to 3-point territory.

DeBarros

DeBarros

Gibson praised Oliver for leading the team.

“He knows how to bring the most out of us,” the center said of his coach. “He knows how to talk with us as people. He communicates with us to work hard and play better.”

Elliot, who is 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, is making an impact as a varsity rookie.

He started this season with a bang, recording a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists against Simi Valley.

“I’m looking to get my teammates more involved,” the point guard said. “We have to keep our heads up if it’s not going our way and keep fighting.”

The honors student with a 4.2 GPA enjoys pushing the ball on the break. He’s also hit timely shots in close games.

Sarkary, who is 5-foot- 9, 145 pounds, is rising to the challenge.

“ It’s fun representing your school,” he said. “Varsity is higher competition and fast-paced. It’s more fun. There are more people watching and there’s more to play for.”

An honors student with a 3.75 GPA, Sarkary’s older brother, Darius, was a captain on Agoura’s basketball team before graduating in 2016.

Nick DeBarros, a senior forward, rounds out the starting lineup. DeBarros has been battling injuries and illnesses this season; when healthy, he uses his long and athletic 6-foot-3 frame to pester foes on defense.

Finn Hays, Saeed Djililov, Grant Weiderman and Hasan Mahmoun are seniors. Chandler Vose, Adam Mimran and Caelan Burkhardt are juniors. Kalin Wall- ing, Jeremy Kerns and Demetri Zanikos bolster the coaching staff.

Agoura returns to the court at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at home against St. Bonaventure. The Chargers’ Marmonte League opener is Jan. 8 at home against Oaks Christian.

“We believe we can make the playoffs,” Cyrus Sarkary said. “If we keep clicking like we are, we can make a deep run.”

The Chargers in a nutshell

Head coach
• Conley Oliver (fourth season)
Starting lineup
• Jack Elliot, junior, PG
• Cyrus Sarkary, junior G
• Joseph “Jojo” Poirier, senior, G/F
• Nick DeBarros, senior, F
• Chase Gibson, junior, C
Bench mob
• Shane Feldman
• Finn Hays
• Saeed Djililov
• Grant Weiderman
• Hasan Mahmoun
• Chandler Vose
• Adam Mimran
• Caelan Burkhardt
Top 3-point shooters
• Joseph Poirier
• Cyrus Sarkary
Stealth defender
• Shane Feldman
Top newcomers
• Jack Elliot
• Cyrus Sarkary
• Shane Feldman
Next game
• Agoura vs. St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at AHS