There are no Kevin Galloways, Chase Tapleys or Josiah Turners leading this year's Sacramento boys basketball team.
Those mega-talented players could take over a game and score in bunches.
"Not having a star - a gifted creator - we have to rely on each other more this season," says Sacramento coach Derek Swafford.
Still, these Dragons are doing just fine with a couple of understated senior leaders and a strong group of hungry juniors.
With point guard Darius Graham and forward Erik Kinney making big plays in the final minutes Friday night, the No. 4 Dragons held off No. 5 Burbank 61-59 in a well played, back-and-forth, packed-house Metro Conference thriller in Oak Park.
Graham made two free throws with 2:07 left, and Kinney hit a three-pointer 23 seconds later. Meanwhile, on defense, the Dragons held the Titans without a point in the final 2:45 to prevail.
Burbank's Jay Stone couldn't connect on a game-winning shot attempt under the basket off a back-door pass from Mitchell Love just before the buzzer.
Graham, a UC Davis scholarship signee, and junior De'Von Boyd each had 15 points, Joseph Barnes added 12 and Kinney finished with 10 for Sacramento (10-4, 2-0).
The tenacious Stone, who plays a lot bigger than his 6-foot-2 frame, led Burbank (11-4, 1-1) with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists while Love, Burbank's other senior leader, added 12 points and four assists.
The 6-4 Kinney scored seven of his 10 points in the final quarter and admitted he had an off-night.
"I just want to thank my teammates for sticking by me when I wasn't playing that (well)," said Kinney, who will play next season on scholarship at Cal State Bakersfield. "That's the great thing about this team. We pick one another up."
The intensity level was a notch higher for the Dragons because Burbank twice beat them last season to win the Metro title, ending Sacramento's four-year reign as champs.
"Mitchell Love and Jay Stone, we're good friends," Kinney said. "But winning was huge for us because of what happened last year and because the Metro is getting a lot tougher."
That's something Swafford seconds. Sacramento once had a run of 40 wins in 41 games but those days are gone he says.
"Burbank is a very good team - (coach) Lindsey (Ferrell) has done a great job with them," Swafford said. "And Valley's improved and Kennedy is real dangerous - they're capable of beating any of us."
Friday's meeting between the two was a lot less eventful than last season at this point.
Burbank was coming off a league opening forfeit to Hiram Johnson, fallout from its fight-marred championship game at a tournament several days earlier.
Sacramento played without Turner, who failed to show for the game. Turner, now playing for Arizona, was later removed from the team, left Sac High and finished his prep career at a school in Winston Salem, N.C.