After losing five seniors last year, the girls’ basketball team is gearing up to fill in the gaps with new, enthusiastic talent. Three seniors will lead this year’s team, along with four juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen players.
The team has been focusing on both practicing six days a week and getting to know each other on a personal basis outside of practices with bonding events. Junior Kelly Hamamoto said the team has already learned its core set of plays and out of bounds plays. The scrimmages in the past weeks have helped them see areas for improvement that they need to work on for the season.With such a young team, players are much smaller this year.
“What we lack in height this year, we will make up in heart and speed,” girls’ basketball coach Kevin Lee said. “We have a group of freshmen and sophomores who will give us a lift and help to carry our program into the future.”
Freshmen Katie Munro said that one of the main challenges in the preseason has been the team’s large number of turnovers, which they hope to focus on as the season begins. Monta Vista and Mountain View, both of which teams moved down to the El Camino division last year, will provide tough competition for the team. The team’s goal this year is to finish at the top, or near the top of its league. In order to accomplish this, Lee said they must rely heavily on each other and the younger members on the team.
Katie is one of the six freshmen on the roster, which also includes freshmen Meg Enthoven, Lauren Lunsford, Meghan Schmiesing, Aaliyah Rodriguez and Rachel Glein. Lee said that these freshmen will provide the team with speed, tenacity, toughness and heart.
“Each of our new freshmen are awesome people who have already adapted to and adopted of basketball philosophy,” Lee said.
There is no denying that this team is full of positive energy. Junior Meghan McDermott said that the team has been doing more bonding throughout the preseason, including team lunches and dinners, in an effort to better gel the players together.
“Everyone gets along on the court and off of it,” freshmen Meg Enthoven said. “[Coach Lee] really knows what he is doing and he is a big part that really brought the team together. These players are family to me and I know they’ve always got my back even outside of basketball.”
The team’s personality is a reflection of their “up-tempo game,” which Lee said will include fast breaks, a well executed offense and a lot of pressure on the ball.
“We will play with intensity on defense too,” Lee said. “We work hard in practice to get into shape so that we can fulfill one goal: to be the best conditioned team in the league.”
Despite the challenging season that lies ahead, the girls’ and Lee’s spirits are high. The new players’ young energy has brought ambition and drive to the team, pushing them to reach their full potential heading into the season.
“Our roster has many girls who are talented basketball players,” Lee said. “But, more importantly, we have a group of girls who are smart and enjoy playing basketball together.”