Read more about the successes of girls soccer and boys basketball
Following a successful preseason, the varsity girls basketball team has proven itself to be a top contender in the Capital Valley Conference. Halfway through league play, the Tigers sit in second place with notable 44-42 and 55-40 wins against the Whitney Wildcats and the Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack, respectively.
The girls have a 5-1 record with their only loss coming from the Antelope Titans, who currently sit in first place at 6-0.
After their 7-7 finish in league last year, the Tigers are performing as they had hoped they would coming into the season. According to coach Josh Errecart, the year is going according to plan.
“We hoped that this year would be the year that we’d figure it all out and take the next step,” Errecart said. “And so far, so good.”
Errecart believes that the team’s success has come in large part due the girls’ experience. The team consists of one freshman, nine juniors, and three seniors. All of the juniors on the team played varsity last season, and each of the three seniors have at least two years of prior varsity experience.
However, according to Errecart, the team cannot continue to rely solely on its experience and needs to find more scorers if it wants to finish the season strong.
Though they have two dominant scorers, senior Shelbie McKay (15.7 ppg) and junior Ari McCurry (9.5 ppg), the girls lack a third consistent scorer which, according to Errecart, they will need in order to continue winning. The rest of the scoring is spread out amongst the other players on the team, with seven players averaging three or more points.
Because of offensive struggles, the Tigers have relied heavily on their defensive dominance. McKay praises the team’s aggressive defense.
“We’re known for our defense,” McKay said. “I think defensively we’ve been doing pretty well. We’ve held a majority of the teams to score under their averages which is something that is really beneficial.”
With help from McKay, who leads the team in steals (4.5 spg), freshman Isabelle Sanders (1.5 spg) and juniors Bailey Bowen-Seay (1.5 spg) and Jada Kranig (1.4 spg), the team is third in the CVC in points scored against.
According to Errecart, the style of defense that they play has been a key to their success.
“Our tempo is so high and we’re so athletic that our defense gets a lot of turnovers,” Errecart said. “It gives us a lot of stuff in transition.”
Though the team has proven to be a dominant presence, it still has room for improvement. Sanders believes that the girls need to work on their offensive efficiency, specifically when it comes to transitioning from defense to offense.
“Once we’re on defensive and we are pushing the other way, we need to work on being methodical on offense,” Sanders said. “We need to be more calm with the ball because we’ve been a little hectic on the court lately because of our high energy.”
Regardless of the team’s weaknesses, Sanders notes that they are determined to beat the Antelope Titans in order to take the first place spot.
“Our loss to Antelope makes us want to push to beat [them] even more,” Sanders said. “That game is motivation for the next time we play them.”
Errecart agrees that the upcoming game against the Titans is a must-win game.
“Obviously we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing, but there’s the big hurdle of getting the Antelope win,” Errecart said. “We’ve got to take care of business. We are right there with them.”
As the Tigers prepare for their game against the Titans on Wednesday (2/1 at AHS), they look to improve their record tonight at home against the Del Campo Cougars. (All stats current through 1/26.)