By Alex Edel
After winning CIF last year and coming within two games of winning the state title, the girlsâ basketball team is already training in preparation for the start of the new season. Their first game will be Nov. 23 against Santa Monica High School.
The Wolverines had an overall record of 22-10 and a league record of 8-2 last year, losing to both Notre Dame and Alemany, teams they had beaten earlier in the season. Due to these losses, the team did not win league, something which has now become one of the teamâs primary goals, Coach Melissa Hearlihy said.
“We were able to win CIF last year, but we had three goals last year [winnning CIF, league, and state], and we were only able to accomplish one,” Hearlihy said. “I think that the fact that the seniors have only won the league title once, makes it our immediate goal.”
To prepare for the start of season, the girls have been training both on and off the court. Three times a week the team trains on the court, playing for an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for 45 minutes on Fridays. On Mondays and Fridays the team does conditioning which includes both running on the track and on the road.
For the past two Mondays the girls have requested to do the “Dixie run” which the boysâ basketball team does. The Dixie run consists of running down to Dixie Canyon and then all the way up to Mulholland.
“We have had a lot of good practices lately, and it shows that we are really flowing together as a team,” starting forward Amanda Horowitz â10 said.
The team also plays in a fall league run by Beverly Hills High School. Because of the teamâs success in this league, the team was seeded first in a tournament, which started last weekend.
With a CIF title under its belt, the team has gained some confidence, which according to Hearlihy will definitely help them achieve their goals this year.
“I think there is a big difference in our confidence level, and I can tell you it showed on Saturday morning when we were down by 11 with five minutes left, and we won,” Hearlihy said. “That wouldnât have happened last year.”
The team won their first game in the tournament while some of the players were out with injuries or were playing other sports.
Varsity starter Nicole Hung â10 has spent the fall as the captain for the varsity tennis team. Aside from playing tennis, Hung has been playing some club basketball and has been working out with a private trainer.
“What is unusual about Nicole, is that she is a pretty gifted kid, and outside of the actual conditioning, her actual basketball skills are pretty solid and she seems to get in shape pretty quickly,” Hearlihy said.
After getting so close to winning state last year, the girls are extremely motivated to go farther this year.
“The fact that we played the team that ultimately became state champions (Mater Dei Catholic) and only lost by five points gives us motivation and lets us know that we can win state,” Horowitz said.
Unlike many teams who have had to adjust to the loss of seniors, the Wolverines bring back the exact same people as last year.
“The seniors have mostly been playing together since ninth grade,” Horowitz said. “We donât have to try and integrate a lot of new people, and so the chemistry is already there.”
The teamâs first league game is not until Jan. 7, but they will play in three major tournaments before then.
“I think that we want to start by winning league and then winning the state championship because you can be good and be unlucky, so you have got to seize the moment when you can,” Hearlihy said.