A new era in Bulldogs boy basketball began this past week as new varsity coach Mark Barnum takes over the program from the departed Sean FitzSimons. Barnum was an assistant the past few years as the Bulldogs made five straight 3A Conference playoffs under FitzSimons. The well-liked Barnum takes over a team that lost eight of ten players who graduated this past June. Eight new players join the only returning starter Jayden Perkins, who comes off a starring role for the Dawgs football team, and letterman Jayson Brooks. Perkins and Brooks will be called on to give a steadying influence to the young Bulldogs and add some scoring punch to the offense. Perkins averaged 6.8 points per game and Perkins added 1.3 in a reserve role. The intense Perkins is a leaper and should dominate the Bulldogs inside play under the boards. Brooks, freshman Will Barnum and Daxon Toone need to sharpen their outside shots to keep defenses from loading up in the paint. Other newcomers are Riley Waite, big Alex Mejia, Jared Memmott, Keith Rushton, Jackson Snarr, Meb Hollingshead, Brenden Irvin and football Q.B. Cade Anderson will compete for playing time and a hopeful starting role. It may be too much to ask for a repeat of last year’s 7-3 second place finish and 20-9 overall record but knowing Bulldog basketball, the team will play with intensity and heart each and every game. Sunrise league opponents Chaparral and Del Sol High Schools will be tough once again while 3A Sunset teams Chaparral, Desert Pines and Western High Schools will be tough opponents. The Dawgs open against rebuilding Sunrise Mountain in Las Vegas on Nov. 28 before playing four games beginning Nov. 30 at the Lake Mead Holiday Classic. Their first home game will be in the Bulldog Invitational Tournament (BIT) beginning Dec. 8. I’m sure the Bulldog faithful wish Barnum and his young charges a good and entertaining year.