Girls’ basketball bounces back from tough early season

February 10, 2022 — by Minsui Tang
Despite a rough start to the season, the Falcons are back on track with a major victory against Los Altos.

Due to two players out sick with COVID-19, schedule conflicts and unfamiliarity with new head coach Joshua Rivera, who led the JV team in the 2019-20 season, the girls’ basketball team was overwhelmed by their opponents earlier in the league season, starting with four consecutive losses against Lynbrook, Los Gatos, Los Altos and Homestead. 

On Jan. 19, they won their away game 46-33 against Wilcox. On Jan. 21, they lost at home 59-34 to Palo Alto. Then they avenged their earlier home loss with a 50-45 victory at Los Altos on Jan. 28. The Falcons lost 60-53 to Lynbrook on Feb. 2 and 56-28 to Los Gatos on Feb. 4. As of Feb. 4, their total record is 7-10 and they are 2-7 in the De Anza league.

The Falcons have begun to regain momentum as players return from quarantine and injuries, and there have been no absences for the three most recent games. 

Junior shooting guard Jenny Campbell and junior co-captain and point guard Tanya Ghai lead the team in points, assists and steals; junior co-captain and forward Mika Tippets boasts the most rebounds and blocks per game.

In addition, the whole team has tried to maintain morale by participating in bonding activities, such as team dinners, which has “definitely helped us get to know each other better,” said senior co-captain and power forward Amarangana Tyagi.

The improved team chemistry since the start of the season has contributed to better performance on the court in recent games, said sophomore guard Zinneerah Ahmed. Before, many team members were still “getting a sense of how everyone played,” leading to a weaker offense compared to their defense, she added.

The team’s initial lack of players at various points earlier in the season meant the 10-person team had to play games with even fewer subs. This led to late-game collapses and sloppy turnovers.

“The issue for games [before] was that it was really stagnant and we were still getting used to each other,” said Ghai. “When we’re in the game, it’s more real and a lot more fun and energetic.” 

The away win against Los Altos boosted the team’s motivation, since the Saratoga players are generally younger and smaller than their opponents.

“[Los Altos was] definitely a strong team,” said senior power forward and co-captain Naomi Mallik. “But because we’ve been able to work a lot better and have better practices, we were able to win against them.”

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