Despite losing star players such as Mary-Clare Bosco, ’13, Alison Walter, ’13, and former student Alexa Griggs, the girls’ basketball team has an overall record of 3-4.
“We’ve been performing pretty well considering we have a lot of new players and we lost a couple of key players,” sophomore Emily Berke said.
The team had only two upperclassmen at the start of the season—senior Maddy Mahla and junior Isabella Tochterman—and Mahla is new to the team this year.
Tochterman is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 16 points per game, followed by sophomore Julia Owaidat with 11.3.
“I was kind of disappointed at first because we lost (Bosco, Walter and Griggs), so I was a little worried that all the pressure would be on me,” Owaidat said.
But Owaidat said that she’s happy with the team’s performance and with the new players that joined this year.
“We’ve gotten girls who really want to learn how to play, so they’re driven to do well,” she said.
Tochterman said the team is aggressive and athletic.
“We have a lot of heart and we want to win, which is always important,” she said.
However, Tochterman said that the team struggles to fill every position and lacks tall players.
“We don’t really have a center (Bosco played it last year), which is kind of difficult for rebounding,” she said. “We have a very short team, which makes it hard to get rebounds. So we have to make up for it with speed.”
Tochterman said the team’s center rotates between junior Micaela Bennett-Smith and freshman Natalie Brown.
“Neither of them really have the height, so it’s difficult because a lot of teams end up getting rebounds over us,” she said.
Bennett-Smith, who played on the team in previous years, joined two months into the season and now leads the team in rebounds per game.
“(Bennett-Smith) has made a defensive presence, which means she is quick, strong and fearless,” coach Matt Vargo said.
Overall, Owaidat said that the young team is going to keep improving throughout the season.
“I know for a fact that we’re not working at the best of our abilities, but it’s something that’s going to get better over time,” she said.
Although the boys’ varsity basketball team has had a rough start to their season, coach David Ancrum is optimistic about the rest.
The team’s current record in the Sac- Joaquin League is 1-9.
Their only victory was against Freedom Christian on Dec. 10, 54-48.
The boys have been practicing specific drills designed to improve their playing skills.
“We are concentrating on better spacing between the players, which will allow the ball to flow easier on the court,” Ancrum said.
Ancrum said that throughout the season everybody on the team has improved in at least one area.
Assistant coach Gary Brisco said that junior George Cvetich (“Flash”), junior Skovran Cunningham (“Skovo”) and sophomore Serajh Esmail (“Raja”) have improved the most this season.
“They are more comfortable with the basketball in their hands and have learned to be the leaders of the team,” Brisco said.
Brisco also said that the team as a whole has improved by getting more comfortable playing together and understanding their individual roles on the team.
The biggest problem, Ancrum said, is that they are too young: two freshmen, four sophomores, three juniors, and only one senior.
Although this is a setback to the season, Ancrum believes that there is an advantage.
“Since they will all be playing together for a couple of years, they will really learn how to function with each other and become a very powerful team by the time they are seniors,” he said.
Besides the game against Freedom Christian, Ancrum considers the Homecoming game against Lutheran, Jan. 10, to be one of the boys’ best games.
The team was very aggressive on defense and offense, they were hungry to win and they never let up on the pressure, he said.
Cunningham is the most consistent player, Ancrum said. He is also the high scorer with 107 points.
“(Cunningham) consistently plays aggressively and does not back down when they are losing,” Ancrum said.
The boys’ next game is on Friday, Jan. 24, against Buckingham. The game will be at home at 7:30 p.m.