Girls’ basketball to start season with new league and coach

December 11, 2008 — by Alicia Lee

As the girls’ varsity basketball team inches into its game season, significant changes have been made this year that could influence their playing as well as their overall season results. For one, Mike Davey has switched to coaching the girls’ team after leading the boys’ team for 16 years.

While his main reason for switching from boys’ basketball has to do with building up a good program over the next few years for his daughters to enter when they come to Saratoga High, Davey also hopes to bring some stability to the girls’ team.

“For the girls who have had four different coaches in four years, I think we can build some continuity and have some good memories for the girls,” said Davey.

With starting players sophomore Hanna Nielson, junior Nicole Gragnola and seniors Sheeva Hamidieh, Melissa Lin and Alex Sclavos, the team will have a strong front. Although the team moved up a league this year to the De Anza League, known as the A League and the best possible league in the Bay Area, Davey hopes to attain his main goal for the season: to go far in CCS. To accomplish this he is working with the girls to improve on fundamentals.

It has, however, been a tough start. In the first five preseason games, the team lost three, including a brutal 22-80 loss against Valley Christian, two-time CCS championship winners. The team lost to Evergreen 50-58 but recovered and beat Willow Glen 56-30. However, Davey is confident these challenges will only help the team grow and gradually improve.

“We have played a very good schedule so far [in the pre-season games],” said Davey. “We are looking to be of a difficult [game] schedule, so we can challenge ourselves.”

In preparation for the season, Davey has had the varsity girls on an extensive pre-season workout plan, with practices six days a week of running, lifting and playing. Unfortunately, the team is a few steps behind other schools in training because four girls on the team were in field hockey and three girls were in volleyball. Both sports had great runs in CCS, preventing those girls from joining the basketball team earlier on.

Although it is great for the team to have athletic and involved girls, it is also unfavorable because, according to Davey, “now we have to set up all of our offenses and [other plays] later in the season.

While it is still too soon to predict anything from the pre-season games, Davey hopes that his coaching will help to further develop the varsity girls’ techniques as well as make lasting impressions and memories for them.

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