Squad bonds through winter tournament victories



Ashlee Wong ’18 scans the courts in a game against Flintridge S acred Heart last season. Photo Credit: Aaron Park/Chronicle

Luke Casola

Despite losing in the CIF Playoff Finals last year after finishing with a 25-5 overall record and 6-2 league record, the girls’ basketball team is looking to have a strong season.

During the fall, the team played in several competitive tournaments, beating Windward Dec. 2 to win the Redondo Union Battle of the Beach Tournament and defeating Clovis North Dec. 23 to win the Harvard-Westlake Holiday Classic.
The team also traveled to Dallas, Texas to compete in the Sandra Meadows Classic tournament Dec. 28-30 where they placed second, losing to Duncanville in the championship Dec. 30. Ashlee Wong ’18, Jayda Ruffus-Milner ’18 and Kiki Iriafen ’21 were named to the All-Tournament team and Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18 was named offensive MVP of the tournament.

“[Jayla Ruffus-Milner] scoring the last shot at the buzzer in the semi-final game to send us to the championship was a self-defining moment for her and everyone watching her,” head coach Melissa Hearlihy said. “A real feel good moment. [Jayla Ruffus-Milner] was named offensive MVP of the tournament, an impressive honor.”
Wong said she was pleased with the opportunity to play in Texas at a national level.

“It was fun being back in Texas, especially since there were a lot of amazing teams,” Wong said. “Being able to play talented players from across the country was a fun and new opportunity. Getting to the championship and playing Duncanville was an achievement in itself, so I’m proud of the team and happy with all we accomplished this tournament.”

Before the season, the team got closer on a camping retreat and bonded off the court in Texas.

“Team chemistry this year has been really good, “ Wong said. “Everyone is meshing well. In Dallas, we had a lot of team meals so we all got to know each other better, we went to the movies and played board games at night. I think everyone feels closer after the trip, which will help us have a better season.”

This year’s team consists of 11 players: four seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen.

“The seniors have really been a good role model for me this season,” guard Ella Price ’20 said. “This is my second season playing varsity, and there is still a lot I need to learn about playing at this level. They always go hard in practices and communicate on the floor.”

The team’s first league game is against Flintridge Sacred Heart Jan. 9. The Wolverines were 2-0 against Flintridge Sacred Heart last year.