La Cañada Coach Larry Naeve — who also guided the Spartans to CIF crowns in 1979, 1997 and 1999 — might have struck fear into his opponents with one statement.
"We have a stronger team than last year," said Naeve, whose 2005 squad was the top-seeded team in the division and went 26-7.
Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju, who watched the Spartans play during the summer, concurred.
"That's a very accurate statement," Sakonju said. "They play very, very well together. Their faster this year. They're young and they're going to be solid for two more years."
For now, Naeve and company are focused on repeating this year.
Borisoff — the All-Area Player of the Year last season — will be the Spartans' showcase player in their bid to repeat as CIF champions for the first time in school history.
A lock to be a future NCAA Division I player, Borisoff, the division's player of the year in 2005, spent two weeks with the U.S. water polo men's youth national team before training with the Spartans.
"I would assume he's the best defender at his age in the country," Naeve said. "He's going to be more of our point guard and he's going to run our offense. I expect him to be more of a playmaker for us."
Seniors Caleb Greig and West Lewis, junior Nathaniel Vail and sophomore Spencer Borisoff — all of whom were on varsity last year — will be drivers who'll look to fill the scoring void left behind by the graduation of All-CIF selections Jordan Thompson, Gamal Rady and Doug McNeese.
"Although we lost a bunch of guys who were pretty good, we have an awfully good team," Naeve said. "We have some good depth and youth at each position."
Naeve said the strongest aspect of his team is its defense.
"But what worries me is thinking that we're still playing in 2005," he added. "We have to survive success. When you have [underclassmen] scoring goals in a final, they think it's easy."