In the wake of point guard Heidi Johnson’s graduation last June, the girls basketball team is going into the next season without its star player.
Johnson averaged 20.9 points per game last season.
“(Johnson) was a key player,” coach Latonia Pitts said. “She could do a little bit of everything, and she had lots of responsibilities, so it will be difficult to fill her shoes. Her athleticism, basketball IQ and hard work ethic will be missed. She always filled the responsibilities put on her by herself and others.”
The Cavs finished seventh in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League last season at 2-12 (3-14 overall), missing the playoffs.
Returning players are junior center Anna Fluetsch, junior forward Joanne Tsai, sophomore guard Vivian Conner and sophomore small forward Daisy Zhou.
Pitts said the team is now “rebuilding.”
“I will see what expectations I have after the first few practices. However, I expect the girls to give 100% effort,” Pitts said.
Fluetsch said she’s optimistic about the season despite the difficulty of replacing Johnson.
“(Johnson) was our most promising ballhandler, so it will definitely be difficult (without her), but I think the season will be fun!” Fluetsch said.
Along with Johnson, the Cavs lost their second-highest scorer, junior small forward Lindsay Burback (4.6 ppg), who moved to Reno, Nevada.
“(Burback) was one of the other ballhandlers on our team last year,” Fluetsch said. “She stepped in for (Johnson) anytime she needed a break. With the loss, our team will need to step up.”
Freshman wing Sage Spradlin, who has played basketball for four years, said she is excited about the upcoming season.
“I think (the season) will be great,” Spradlin said. “We have a great lineup of girls who are great to play with.”
The Cavaliers will open the season on Friday, Nov. 22, at 5:30 p.m. against Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley.
—By Arikta Trivedi
Originally published in the Nov. 12 edition of the Octagon.