About OUR Program
When you are chosen to play basketball in the Nighthawk basketball program you will be asked to make a very serious commitment, perhaps the biggest commitment that you have ever made in your life to this point. Not everyone has a chance to play basketball at the level at which we will play. We are going to ask more from you than you have probably ever been asked. You must decide whether you are willing to make a serious commitment. This commitment will require that you go against what may currently be the popular way of doing things. It not only involves a certain way of playing basketball, but it requires a certain standard of appearance and behavior that is representative of our school and our basketball program. Some of you may not be ready for this commitment, although I hope that all of you are. This commitment is designed to not only make us the most successful basketball team that we can possibly be, but also to make you the most successful person that you can be.
Rewards will come in many ways and at different times for each of you. Some of you will receive individual accolades while others may not get the individual recognition that you deserve. However, the most important reward that you will receive is that you will be part of a team, a second family, that you will have a special bond with for the rest of your life. You will not get these types of opportunities very often in life.
You must be a team player first. The success of our team and you will be directly related to how committed you are to the team first. We want you to succeed individually, but you must understand that individual achievements will come as we experience success as a team. We will only be as strong as our weakest link. Everyone must live up to the set expectations. We will win as a team and lose as a team. No one person is more important than the team or the program. No single person will win the game by himself or lose a game by himself. If you cannot buy into this philosophy you should choose to do something else.
We are looking for players who are smart, tough, unselfish, and fundamentally sound. We must work on this every day to develop this philosophy. We are impressed with hard workers not with flashiness or individualism. This philosophy will allow us to have a chance to win every time we step on the floor, no matter who our opponent is. It will also allow us to have competitive teams year in and year out no matter what our talent level is.
We will play the way we practice. Practice will be designed to be more difficult then the games. You must come to practice ready to work to improve as an individual and as a team. Work to improve your weaknesses everyday. You must come to practice with only basketball on your mind. For the two to two and a half hours that you will be practicing the focus should be on basketball. The atmosphere within the gym should be one of intensity, excitement, team unity, and attention to detail. We will be playing for our school in front of the public. We need to be ready. The effort and attitude that we foster in practice is what will be exhibited on the court.
Games are the culmination of all your hard work in practice. We will do whatever we can to try to win the game without breaking any of our own team rules. Unfortunately not everyone will have the opportunity to play in every game. In fact there will be players that will play very little. That is the nature of the game of basketball. There is a limited amount of playing time. This time will go to the players who the coach feels is most deserving and who will help the team win the game. Playing time is primarily earned during practice. If you are not satisfied with your playing time you must communicate with the coach at an appropriate time as to what you can do to improve this. Meanwhile you must continue to put forth a positive effort and attitude. If you fail to do this you will not only be hurting yourself, but the team and will face disciplinary action.
We will win and lose as a team. Do not take too much credit or too much blame. All we can do is ask ourselves after the game if we did everything in our power to win. If we practice hard and can answer 'yes' to the previous question we will win our share.
We will exude class and unity at all times.
TEAM. PRINCIPLES. TRADITION. 487 career Varsity wins, 173 career League victory's, 7 League titles, 21 Tournament championships, 23 CIF Playoff births, 1 CIF Southern Section Championship, 3 State Playoff appearances.
Our first Varsity season began in 1992-93 under Coach Ciancio, who led the first Nighthawk team to a 10-14 overall record, finishing 6-6 in league. Coach Forgette arrived in 1993-94 taking over for Coach Ciancio and guided the Nighthawks to a 15-7 overall record, along with a second place finish in league with an 8-2 record. Our first CIF playoff berth came that season under the guidance of Coach Forgette.
1995-96 ushered in the Coach Tarabilda era. Coach Tarabilda and Coach Forgette directed the Nighthawks to a 21-7 overall record, a second place finish in league with a 7-3 record and picked up the programs first CIF playoff victory versus Etiwanda in only the second trip to the CIF playoffs in program history. 19 of the next 20 seasons would see the Nighthawks in the CIF playoffs. 1997-98 and 1998-99 would see the Nighthawks finish with back-to-back league titles, thanks to the two 20-plus win seasons. Brian Wethers, Murrieta Valley's all-time leading scorer, 1998-99 Riverside County Player of the Year and University of California-Berkley player left an indelible mark as a Nighthawk during his four-year Varsity career.
In 2000-01, Coach Sammon joined the Nighthawk coaching staff. 2005-06 saw the Nighthawks finish 5-20 overall and 0-10 in league. The effort put forth by the players on that 2005-06 team set-up the success the Nighthawk program would see over the next seven seasons. That seven-year span included the Nighthawks winning four Southwestern league titles, seven straight CIF playoff births, a CIF State tournament birth, culminating with a CIF Southern Section championship at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California versus Compton Tarbabes in 2009-10. During that span Coach Tarabilda, Coach Forgette, Coach Sammon and their players amassed an overall record of 168-37, including a 55-15 record in the Southwestern league. The 2010-11 Nighthawk team became the first Southwestern team to finish undefeated; 10-0. The 2011-12 Nighthawk team captured the programs sixth Southwestern league championship with a 9-1 record and finished the season with an overall record of 25-3. The 2012-13 team continued the tradition of Nighthawk basketball by finishing 21-8 overall and 7-3 in the Southwestern league, while reaching the quarterfinals of the CIF playoffs before losing to Villa Park. The Nighthawks rolled off seven consecutive 20+ win seasons, that streak however ended in 2013-14 as the Nighthawks fell one win shy of the 20-win mark with a 19-10 overall record. The Nighthawks faced numerous challenges throughout the 2014-15 season finishing 10-16 overall, including a first-round CIF playoff exit versus an old rival Lake Elsinore. In 2015-16, #25 came home, as Brian Wethers returned as Coach Tarabilda's Assistant Coach. Coach Tarabilda and Coach Wethers worked together in teaching the vision of Nighthawk Basketball. The Nighthawks concluded the 2015-16 season with an overall record of 11-14, yet despite the sub-.500 record, progress was made. The fruits of that labor should bear this upcoming 2016-17 season. Following the 2017-18 season, after his 23rd season at the helm of the Nighthawk Basketball program Coach Tarabilda retired. He retires as the longest tenured Nighthawk coach, having amassed 386 wins, 21 tournament championships, 19 CIF playoff berths and a CIF championship (2010). Nighthawk Basketball and its extended family are his vision, thank you Coach Tarabilda for making your vision a reality.
In June of 2018, Coach Wethers became the fourth Head Coach in program history. This program steeped in tradition and forged through family values, looks forward to not only continuing, but expounding upon its past successes.
The 2018-19 season brought about a resurgence of energy, drive and determination, which translated into a 15-11 season overall, 5-5 in league (3rd place) and for the first time since 2014-2015 the Nighthawks returned to the CIF playoffs for the 21st time in program history.
The 2019-20 team set a handful of program offensive records; the team scored a total of 2,067 points (first time the program eclipsed the 2,000 point mark) for 71.3 points per game (first time the program averaged above 70 points per game) and made 218 3-point field goals at a 39% clip. Playing an increased strength of schedule the Nighthawks finished 15-14 overall and 5-5 in league (4th place). The Nighthawks fell in the 1st Round of the CIF playoffs to #2 seed Bonita, 79-62.
The 2020-21 season will forever be remembered as equals parts unrelenting and remarkable. The entire season the team was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and its unrelenting hold on everything basketball (and life) related. Thankfully, the team, as well as the others in Southern California were able to hold a season...and a remarkable season it was. The Nighthawks won the Southwestern League, made it to the CIF Division 2A Semi-finals and qualified for the CIF State Regional Tournament. Despite the shortened season, the Nighthawks scored 1,424 points and broke the points scored per game record, set only one year earlier, with 74.9 (only the second time in program history a team averaged above 70 points per game). Damian Ruiz became the sixth Nighthawk in program history to eclipse the career 1,000-point scoring mark with 1,025 (Brian Wethers 2,251 - Bryce Lenhart 1,725 - Justin Gudger 1,062 - Kevin Padlo 1,047 - Dylan Bohanan 1,018). Damian set the career record for most 3-point field goals made with 167, surpassing Jake Tarabilda's 150.
After 28 Varsity seasons, the TRADITION has long since been established in the Murrieta Valley Nighthawk Basketball Program.