The New Era of Girls’ Basketball

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Our girls’ basketball team is ready to dominate under new head coach Carlos Fandino.

Andy Song, Copy Editor

   While we were busy sleeping in at home during the summer, they were practicing and conditioning. While we were finishing up our summer assignments in the days leading up to the school year, they were training with the new freshmen. While we forced ourselves to adjust to a new school year, they were working as a unit to perfect their play. And walking into the small gym during a Tuesday night practice, I got to see a glimpse of just how hard and long our girls’ basketball team has been working to prepare for the upcoming year.

   I entered the gym to the sounds of squeaking sneakers and chatter; the team, despite the fact that their head coach had not arrived, was in the midst of pre-practice conditioning. When brand-new coach Carlos Fandino arrived, the team immediately transitioned into fast paced drills. As the girls sprinted down the court and balls were flying left and right, the yells of the girls motivating each other filled the room, accompanied only by the sound of their coach yelling at them to play harder. The rest of practice carried on this atmosphere of intensity and determination. Whether it was another drill or a scrimmage, the team continued to exert with tremendous effort.  

   As I exited the gym, the team was studying the film of their last game, taking each play piece by piece. And from watching a mere hour and a half of their practice, it became very clear that our girls’ basketball team is different this year. This is a team determined to win.

   To put it simply, the 2015-16 season was a rough year for the Lady Cats. The team finished the season with a 2-8 record in league and took an early loss in the first round of the CIF playoffs. But as disappointing as the year turned out to be, the season did not go in vain.

   “Last year was very devastating for us, no doubt. But we implemented last year’s mistakes and what happened into this year’s program, and we just plan to get better from there,” said senior captain Ashley Woodhouse.

   Along with gaining invaluable experience from the previous season, the team was able to build strong chemistry and develop as a cohesive unit. New head coach Carlos Fandino believes this tremendous growth gives the team the potential to establish success for years to come.

   “Im hoping for a new start to a new era. I have faith that we have the key pieces in place to be successful now and into the future. But that process is going to take some time,” said Fandino.

   Even with continual development and improvement over the past few seasons, the team is still viewed as a heavy underdog to the rest of the league. Seven seniors graduated last year and star player Annie Christofferson transferred to Hart, leaving only three returning members with the other 10 all coming in with no varsity experience.

   “Its really motivated us to work hard and to surprise people. We know that no one really expects us to do well, but we have been working really hard to prove that we can go out and compete,” said Mcquillen.

   As for the youth and relative inexperience of this team, all of the captains also see this aspect in a positive light.

   “This year we are really young, and I think we have a lot of passionate girls who really love the game, and it motivates us to play and do our best,” said senior captain Izzy Singer.

   And while the team displayed a wide variety of skills that they had been working on, one attribute stood out the most: Trust. The experienced senior captains were trusting the freshman, who had never logged a single minute in a varsity game, to lead the offense. Despite Fandino only being the coach fro a few short months, the entire team easily cooperated and learned from him. And most importantly, the team trusted each other.

I have faith that we have the key pieces in place to be successful now and into the future. ”

— Carlos Fandino

   “We have definitely been bonding with one another and trusting each other a lot more. We are putting a lot of faith in our coach, and because of this, we have been working really hard, going pretty much everyday,” said Singer.

   And because of this trust, the team is able to cooperate well in many other areas.

   “They all get along really well; every single girl likes each other and gets along, and we have no drama,” said Fandino. “The girls have worked their tails off. I’ve had over 90 percent participation in practices, and they have committed to this team.”

   For this year’s team, there is only one thing that can rival their trust in one another and the incredible amount of work that they have put in: their confidence.

   “We are going to come, and we are going to dominate this year,” said Woodhouse.