Girls’ Basketball prepares to compete in the De Anza League

December 12, 2018 — by Ashley Feng and Anna Novoselov

As members of the more competitive De Anza League, the girls on varsity basketball team know they need to work hard and communicate to win against teams like Los Gatos and Santa Clara.

“The teams are going to be tougher but it will be a new challenge for us,” said junior post Ella Parr. “We need a challenge this year and I think that that’s what we’re going to get.”

The girls have been enjoyed success in most of their preseason games. They started with two dominating wins against Westmoor and Oceana, winning 64-27 and 58-26 respectively. The team lost their first game of the year on Dec. 6, against Carlmont 50-33, but bounced back with a 41-28 win against the Notre Dame Rangers.

Their non-conference record sits at 3-1 and the girls play their first conference game against Leigh on Dec. 11.

With the loss of key players to graduation last spring — point guard Chloe Fung and post Harshini Ramaswamy — and the addition of new players — freshman post Amarangana Tyagi, sophomore post Berry Bailey and junior guard Ranna Zahabi — the team has had to adjust to new playing styles and learn to work better as a team.

“We definitely felt an impact from losing the seniors last year, but we’re all taking part in covering for them,” senior power forward Rachel Bakke said. “We’ve all known each other for a very long time and since the team has worked a lot together over the summer, we’re very used to each other and we know how we all play.”

Junior guard Anika Prasad and sophomore guard Jane Loo have been leading the team in scoring.

Prasad said the girls can play at the same level as they did last year and be one of the top three teams in their league if they continue working with the same work ethic that they have now.

“A lot of people have had to step up and everyone is working really hard,” Prasad said. “The new players are really easy to get along with, they work hard, and I have no complaints.”

The team has been focusing on consistently boxing out, communicating with each other and learning a new defense called “Pacline D.”

“We definitely have an advantage with shooting and skill, Parr said. “We don’t have a lot of super big players, but we can definitely push the ball faster than other teams can play defense on us.”

Parr said that she has seen the team make “incredible progress,” especially in the five-on-five transition drill, which she observes from the sidelines. She tore her ACL and medial meniscus last January during a game against Los Altos High and has been slowly recuperating by easing back into the sport and avoiding aggressive exercises involving physical contact.

“It’s definitely been weird to watch practices happen,” Parr said. “I was the cheerleader for the team for a while and as someone who’s played sports her whole life, it was hard to watch other people playing the sport I love. [The experience has] trained me to be more careful.”

Parr has learned about how she could improve her own individual skills by watching her teammates play and seeing practices and games from the perspective of a coach.

Due the team’s demanding practice schedule — Monday-Saturday each week as well as practices through Thanksgiving and Winter Break — the team has improved rapidly.

“We move the ball really well and everybody can play well with each other,” Parr said. “We fit well together and we are definitely working on improving us as individuals and using that to improve as a team.”

This year, coach Danny Wallace uses a white board at every practice where he lists each day’s objective and goals that the girls have to meet. For instance, one day he might decide that the team has to box out 60 percent of the time. If the girls don’t meet that target, they have to run more at the end of practice.

“It’s cool to see how he thinks we’re improving,” Parr said. “If we don’t meet [the target], at the next practice we’re going to be so much more determined. And if we did meet it, we would be a really happy team that didn’t have to run.”

The team hopes to continue improving on its press defense, offense and communication, and put their full effort into each game.

“I want to go each game proud of what we did on the court and make sure we have no regrets,” Bakke said.

Due to printing deadlines, The Falcon was not able to report on the Dec. 11 match against Leigh.


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