SPORTS

Talented team enters season

The Scripps Ranch High School women’s varsity basketball team has opened a 25-game season. (photo by Ralph LoVuolo)

Talented team enters season

Witnessing a practice of the Scripps Ranch High School women’s varsity basketball team is an inspiring experience. The young women athletes, assistants and managers rush to set up practice equipment and help their coach. The atmosphere is undeniably positive. Everyone is pulling in the same direction. The players run through a full-court passing drill ending in layups, and they break into a chant in unison. The participants glide up and down the court effortlessly, and they each display long strides as they fly toward the basket.

Seventh-year head coach James Stewart looks forward to fielding a deep team as the Scripps Ranch High Lady Falcons varsity basketball team takes to the hardwood this season.

The team will have five seniors, two juniors and four very good freshmen as they continue on a 25-game schedule, plus what they hope will be several playoff games in post-season competition.

(photo by Ralph LoVuolo)

The Lady Falcons have been Western League champions two years in a row, lost the CIF Championship game by one point last year and made it to the second round at State. This year, their biggest league challengers are expected to be Cathedral High and Mira Mesa. While the Lady Falcons lost 6-foot, 2-inch star center Totyana Semien to graduation, there will be plenty of talent.

“We’re filling out the roster with young players that are sure to play and are coachable. … Were looking to have a pretty good season,” Stewart said. “I think we’ll be competitive and I think we’ll fight for our back-to-back league titles.”

Stewart is coaching a guard-oriented team that stresses defense.

Guard Kitty Chau, an All-Western League player the past two seasons, is one returning player. “She’s very dynamic; a great defensive player,” Stewart said.

The team’s lead guard, Kayla Camerino, is also returning. Two years ago, she was an All-Western League selection and she earned Honorable Mention last season. Another guard, Virali Patel is a three-year starter who is also back this season. Patel shoots well and her defensive play is also very good, Stewart said. Julia Pettington, a 5-foot, 8-inch forward, is another top returner.

Stewart is especially enthusiastic about three freshmen players with great potential. McKaila Daza, a point guard, is one of them. “She’s really quick,” he said. “She’s going to be a really good freshman player this year.”

Forward Kaila Williams is another freshman with high expectations. “She can score inside; good rebounder,” Stewart said.

Freshman Macie Kinne is a 5-foot, 8-inch shooting guard who should also help the team, Stewart said.

“We’re fun to watch. … We push the basketball. We push the pace,” Stewart explained. “I like to say we play in rhythm. … We take quality shots, we play quality defense and we play together. I like this team this year. … Great kids.”

Upcoming tournaments for the women’s basketball team include the Montgomery High Aztecs Christmas Classic, a 12-team tourney running Dec. 27-30. The league opener is Jan. 3 at home against Serra High.

Photos by Ralph LoVuolo. Visit ralphlovuolophotography.com.

(photo by Ralph LoVuolo)
(photo by Ralph LoVuolo)
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