Girls’ basketball ready for playoffs

Rian Ratnavale

After winning their league opener against Notre Dame Academy in blowout fashion by a score of 72-40, the girls’ basketball team has the momentum it needs to make a championship run in CIF-SS Playoffs this year.

The team has an overall record of 13-4 this season overall, and is 1-0 in league play, led by captains Lindsey Tse ’16 and Jordan Brown ’17. Another big factor in the team’s success so far has been Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18, the Student Athlete Advisory Council’s Athlete of Month for January, who has been averaging a team-high 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

However, despite the team’s strong start, it still experiments with different starting lineups depending on their opponent.

“Our rotations and lineups aren’t set, and the kids understand that,” Girls’ Basketball Program Head Melissa Hearlihy said. “It’s going to be about matchups and practice performance. That’s what makes our team great, the kids understand that.”

The squad has been playing well all season, but has now seemed to finally hit their stride and is playing it’s best basketball in the face of upcoming play vs. league rivals.

“Overall I’m proud of how far we have come this year,” Sydney Tsutsui ’17 said. “We started the year with a few great wins over Chaminade and Oaks Christian who had previously beat us last year. Farther into season we have seen some great competition and always put up a fight till the very end.It’s a different atmosphere compared to last year.”

Perhaps the biggest key to the Wolverine’s success this year has been the chemistry that they’ve developed from playing with each other very early on in the year.

“The biggest factor to whatever success we’ve had would probably be thanks to the chemistry we’ve built throughout the summer, fall, and the beginning of season,” Tse said. “Basketball is a huge time commitment so over the months we’ve probably seen each other almost every day allowing us to build such a strong bond.”

The team recently returned from the Sandra Meadows Classic in Texas, where they finished 3-2 overall in the tournament and gained valuable experience playing against skilled teams.

“Traveling in itself is a great experience for a team to have, living together really emphasized our already present family atmosphere,” Tsutsui said. “On the court, we faced great competition that we wouldn’t have seen in California. The game in Texas has longer half court possessions and the referees are very sparing when it comes to fouls, so we got to be more aggressive which is definitely something we took back to California.”

Although the team is ranked eighth in the state, and has a markedly successful scheme, the team is looking to boost its confidence to clean up its its play, and put a more seamless product on the court.

“Going forward, although we are a very close team, lacking in us is trusting our effectiveness in our offense especially against a zone defense and that we will do the little things for each other on the court,” Lauren Lapesarde ’17 said. “The little things range from making clutch free-throws or wide-open lay-ups to anyone of us lacking confidence against a team or helping each other calm our nerves before a big game. Those are two areas with a lot of underlying sub-topics that are and will be the keys to our success this season going forward.

The team played their home league opener against Chaminade yesterday (results unavailable as of press time), and will head out on a two game-road trip against El Camino and Alemany.