Led by a trio of brothers and some savvy veterans, Modesto’s Beyer is gaining steam
By DARIN WISSNER | Photos by JIM JOHNSON
Hard work and dedication. It’s what coaches preach as the key ingredients in elevating a high school sports program to an elite status.
The Beyer High boys basketball program is not at the elite level just yet, but the hard work and dedication phase is in place thanks to coach Kyle McKim.
“We are a 12 month out of the year program that prides itself on toughness and dedication to the game,” said McKim, who is in his second year coaching at the Modesto school. “We’ve taken the offseason program to a higher level than any other program in our area by starting our own AAU team comprised solely of Beyer players.”
Many high school programs claim the same mantra of “hard work and dedication,’ but for a program to make a real difference, it must promote itself. An excitement must be procured. For this to happen, the head coach needs to be proactive.
It’s the coach who needs to constantly post on social media, or get his or her team into the bigger tournaments with tougher competition — or like what coach McKim did — schedule your first 14 games on the road.
“This past off season, we took our kids to NCAA-certified tournaments to Los Angeles (twice), Oakland and Las Vegas and we compiled a 16-5 record,” McKim said. “As far as the first 14 games on the road, we wanted to put ourselves in other gyms against teams we didn’t know to provide us with the same type of challenges we will face in the playoffs.”
As a relative unknown in the Sac Joaquin Section playoffs a year ago, the Patriots were the No. 5 seed in Division II and beat 12th-seeded Burbank-Sacramento 69-62 before succumbing to No. 4 Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove 85-82 in the quarterfinals.
When high school boys basketball fans think of “Modesto,” their first thought goes to Modesto Christian and the many title banners that adorn their gym. The Crusaders now compete in the Modesto Metro Conference alongside Beyer.
“It’s definitely a challenge to compete for an MMC title with Modesto Christian in our league, but it’s the best thing that’s happened to the league,” McKim said. “It has forced us, as a program, to raise our standards and goals.
“They’re a tremendous program who competes for section and state titles every season. Our kids are up for the challenge to compete against them twice a year and see where we stack up.”
Leading the way for Beyer is a trio of brothers. The oldest is 6-foot-3 senior first-team All-MMC combo guard Georgie Dancer who is committed to Sacramento State for next fall. The Patriots knew to expect big things from him this season, but have got a significant boost from the contributions of his two brothers.
“DeAngelo (a junior) is our outside shooter and lock down defender, and Dom (a freshman) is the best passer on the team,” Georgie says of the family skill set. “Dom breaks down the defense with his drive to the basket and is tremendous in finding the open player.”
Referring to the team as family is more literal for the Dancers and the Patriots.
“We do everything together,” the eldest Dancer says when talking about his teammates. “Along with my brothers, we all eat lunch together, go to the mall with each other which translates
Georgie Dancer is believed to be the only Beyer player in school history to accept a full-ride scholarship to an NCAA Div. I program straight out of high school, and the first player from the traditional MMC/CCC schools to go Div. I in many years. Dancer appreciates the guidance of Coach McKim in which the coach allows his players to play freely rather than dictating plays for the team to strictly adhere to.
“Coach lets us make our own cuts and encourages free distribution of the ball,” Georgie says of McKIm’s style or demeanor. “He says, ‘Don’t find a good shot, but find a great shot.’ We trust each other. If the flow does not allow that, or we struggle, coach knows when to call the plays to get us back on track.”
Dancer has played alongside junior guard Brian Perry, and senior guard, Tanner Gentry since the fourth grade in travel ball. Perry and Gentry have been two of the best shooting guards in the MMC since the start of last season.
“Their ability to shoot the ball and spread out the other team is the key to our whole game,” McKim said of the guard duo. “I mean, really, I have a number of kids that can do that, as it’s the key to our success, but Brian and Tanner really excel as well as defend. Just solid players.”
Senior guard Ryan Frakes is the “glue” according to coach McKim.
“Ryan is our second leading scorer and truly does a little of everything to help us win. Every team has one, and Ryan is ours,” McKim said.
With a guard-laden team like Beyer, success from the big men is just as crucial. McKim talks of his forwards Dylan Weltmer and Sam Leventini: “Dylan is our leading rebounder and simply does the dirty work. Sam is one of the best (post) defenders in the league.”
McKim and the Patriots know that hard work and dedication can only take them so far. And for Beyer to truly transform into that elite program, it will need more than just two successful seasons.
But there’s always got to be that first step. And this year’s Patriots are taking a big one.