By Alex Edel
With a 25-1 record and ranked ninth in the nation, the girlsâ basketball team is heading to playoffs on a twenty-game winning streak.
“This season has been incredible. We had expectations this summer, we thought we could be very good and I think that one thing our team has matured into outside of their individual skills is that we have really become a unified group,” Head Coach Melissa Hearlihy said.
The team has won every league game by at least 13 points.
Their closest game was against Chaminade, which they won 79-66. They will play their last league game tomorrow against Flintridge Sacred Heart, who they beat in their last match 63-27.
“Our team has matured into a unified group and that goes beyond personal skills,” Hearlihy said. She described the team as blooming, and said that no one has played selfishly.
The teamâs only loss came against national powerhouse Mater Dei, ranked number one in the nation by MaxPreps, in the Mater Dei tournament.
“You would think with our record and the way that we have beat up on people that there wouldnât be that much else we can do but we are now focusing on defense because there are going to be times when the offense is not clicking the way you want it to and this team is so athletic that we can really pressure people so thatâs going to be our focus going into the playoffs,” Hearlihy said.
The Wolverines are ranked fifth in state and ninth nationally.
Nicole Hung â10 leads the team scorers with an average of 16.9 points per game and leads the teamâs rebounds with an average of 9.2 rebounds per game.
Nicole Nesbit â10 leads the team in both steals and assists with 3.6 in each per game.
“I think we are going to get better. There are things we can get better at,” Hearlihy said. “We are adding new components to our repertoire both offensively and defensively so that makes it fun.” She has been implementing new drills and plays to keep things fun and exciting for the team.
Although both Nesbit and Hung were top players both this year and last, there have been some surprise additions to the team who have helped. In particular, Leslie Shuman â11 has come through as a defensive player. With Hilary King â11 out early in the season with an injury, Shuman had to step in and got a lot of playing time in early in the season.
“Itâs starting to show now, her confidence is getting stronger,” Hearlihy said. “I think that the kids have gotten a lot more confident in her. We actually look to her to play defense when we bring her in the game.”
Shuman has 37 assists this season, ranked fifth behind Hung,
Nesbit, Skyler Tsutsui â11 and Sydney Haydel â10. She also has 54 rebounds this season so far ranked sixth on the team. Last year Shuman only had nine assists and 35 assists during the entire season. There is no one person who dominates the team, and Nesbit said that the team dynamic is akin to that of a puzzle.
“I think each person has their own talent they bring to the team. We have really good defensive players and offensive players and we all fit together like a puzzle,” Nesbit said.
Although both King and Tiana Woolridge â11 were injured early in the season, Hearlihy feels that the team has developed and now as they come back into play they will become a better team. Looking ahead to the approaching playoffs, Hearlihy said that they are not discounting any team in their quest for a CIF and state title.
“We are not looking past anyone,” Hearlihy said. “To be honest, the main focus this year has been on us. We are going to go out and play the best game we can play and you have to beat us. I think then you donât get caught up with the business of worrying about anyone else. It takes maturity to do that and I think thatâs where we are at.”
“Winning CIF is our goal and to hopefully go into state focusing on getting better,” Nesbit said.