After coming within eight points of a CIF Finals berth, the girls’ basketball team will look towards a mix of returning talent and new energy to guide them to a successful season, hopefully ending with an Open Division berth in the CIF Playoffs.
Last year, the squad rebounded with an 11 game win streak at the end of its season and advanced to the semi-finals of its league playoffs. In the CIF State Regionals, the team made it all the way to the semi-finals, but lost to Oaks Christian. Despite losing standout point guard Teeana Cotangco ’15 to college ball at Claremont McKenna, the team has more than enough leadership with guard Lindsey Tse ’16 taking over as the leader of the backcourt. Tse, along with double-double machine Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18, were both named to the LA Daily News All-Area Team. The senior guard will look to take over much of the ball-handling responsibilities, after averaging eight points per game and three assists per game last year. In her first year of high school basketball, Milner averaged 13 PPG and 10 rebounds per game, and was a game-wrecker on defense as well, averaging over 1.5 steals and blocks per game.
Under head coach Melissa Hearlihy, the Wolverines look to their defense to create havoc with turnovers, and start fast-breaks that lead to a fast, free-flowing game on offense. The players use a lot of off-ball movement to open up the floor for better shots.
“It’s a high-tempo upbeat system of play,” Lauren Lapesarde ’17 said. “For offense, we rely on a lot of cutting and a lot of off-the-ball play. With this offense and a lot of things happening in the court away from the ball, we are able to create multiple scoring opportunities for ourselves and each other on any given possession.”
The team will play Windward in Taper Gymnasium on Wednesday for its first home game and will play in the Redondo and Santa Barbara Tournaments before starting league play at Notre Dame Jan. 7.