ENCINITAS — San Dieguito High School's Chris Bahr has overcome disappointment and a disadvantage to lead his basketball team to the top of the Palomar League.
San Dieguito wasn't expected to contend in the Palomar League this season, but Bahr, a 6-foot 3-inch center, has led the Mustangs to the league lead with a 3-0 record (9-5 overall) after two victories last week.
In a 48-43 victory over Poway, Bahr had 16 points, including 10 of 11 free throws, and 7 rebounds. Bahr, The Times' Player of the Week, had a game-high 17 points in a 45-44 victory over Torrey Pines.
Through San Dieguito's first 14 games, Bahr leads the team in scoring (14.0 points per game) and rebounding (8). But his defense has also been attracting attention.
"He's shut down some very big players defensively," Coach Brian Daly said. "He has a tremendous work ethic. He has learned to meet the challenge this year."
Bahr has had to overcome lack of experience and lack of height. A senior, he played on the junior varsity team as a sophomore and junior. He's the league's shortest center.
Bahr has beaten the county's "giants" in every matchup this season. Clairemont's 6-6 Vic Baer was held to one basket, Poway's 6-6 Paul Roberts and 6-5 Adam Jones were held to a combined nine points, and Torrey Pines' 6-8 Kevin Flanagan was held to one basket.
"The best thing I can do is try not to let them get the ball," said Bahr, 17. "I just try to get my shot off over them (taller players) and concentrate real good."
Last season, Bahr led the junior varsity in scoring (24 points per game) and rebounding (10 per game).
"On junior varsity I found that it helped me to get everything down and just get playing experience," he said.
"We had all seniors last year (11 of 13 varsity players were seniors). I was sort of disappointed. I wasn't sure if I'd get a lot of time if I did play varsity."
Bahr may be getting used to waiting for his chance. After two years playing for the junior varsity baseball, he's getting his chance on the varsity this year.