Girls basketball drives forward from previous season’s injuries

November 27, 2018 — by Allison Hartley and Manasi Garg

Head coach: Danny Wallace

2017-2018 record: 22-5

2017-2018 recap: Lost to Aptos High School in CCS semi-finals

Key additions: junior guards Anhmy Tran and Ranna Zahabi, sophomore center Bereket Bailey, freshman center Amarangana Tyagi

Key matchups in the upcoming season: Los Gatos (Feb. 2), Palo Alto (Feb. 11)

Star players: sophomore guard Jane Loo, junior guard Anika Prasad

Key losses to graduation: Harshini Ramaswamy, Chloe Fung

League: Santa Clara Valley Athletics League, De Anza division

Prognosis:

After last season’s successful though injury-riddled season, coach Danny Wallace hopes to overcome the challenge of competing in the tough De Anza League. Even before the conference competition begins in January, though the team must maintain at least a 6-6 record during the preseason in order to qualify for CCS.

“Last year was a great testimony for playing hard — we were a young team, and we made our stance that we can compete at a higher level,” Wallace said. “We’re just going to take one year at a time.”

After last season’s slew of injuries, including junior Ella Parr’s torn ACL and senior Kirstin Kruka’s concussion, among others, the team will focus on staying healthy, reducing muscle pain and maintaining their health by emphasizing care like muscle rollers and yoga practice.

“If all of the variables come together, I truly believe that we can compete in the De Anza League and be the top three in that league if we stick it strong together,” Wallace said. “I’m not saying we’re going to win it all, but we have a shot.”

Sophomore guard Jane Loo said that the team will shift the way they play as Wallace incorporates new drills in practice to improve team chemistry.

With its strong bench and Loo directing the offense, the team will look to centers sophomore Berry Bailey and seniors Kirstin Kruka and Kitty Huang to rebound and guard Anika Prasad to score.

Wallace emphasizes that the whole team will work together to score, rather than relying on a few select players.

“It’s important to make sure everybody is on the same page,” Wallace said. “The most important player is the team — trust your team, and you’re in good shape.”

Since the team is traditionally undersized, they will take advantage of their speed with a fast-paced transition offense. The team with also run a full court press against teams like Los Gatos, which lack skilled ball handlers.

“Every year, I change due to what my team is capable of doing,” Wallace said. “I never say ‘This is the only way.’ I like to look at my team, analyze and move forward for what’s best for the team.”

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