Summer of success- South Tahoe girls learn how to win on hardwood
The South Tahoe Girls Basketball Club won’t soon forget the summer of 2001.
Prep Season upon prep season of rarely tasting victory has only given the team more determination to succeed. Through their summer sacrifices they finally realized success, winning more games than they have over the past few seasons combined.
Over its final 16 games of the summer season, South Tahoe won 12 games.
“It feels good to start winning,” said South Tahoe High senior Amy Carter. “Knowing that it’s our senior year, we’re going to try even harder now, so we can make it to the playoffs this season.”
Club coach Tim Jaureguito estimates his team won more than half of its 50-game schedule.
“The girls are really excited about what’s happening to them right now. Our last couple of weeks we’ve played better than I’ve ever seen,” said Jaureguito, who also doubles as the mentor for South Tahoe High girls basketball team. “I can look down the bench and I can put people in to contribute. That’s something I’ve never had before.”
So what are the X’s and O’s behind South Tahoe’s newfound success? In-your-face defense.
“We were playing unbelievable defense,” Jaureguito said.
“I think we have some of the best defense,” Carter said. “That will be something for the other teams to look out for.”
In the recent 28-team Hoop To Do Tourney at Arco Arena in Sacramento, South Tahoe held opponents to 16 points per game while scoring 37. That sticky “D” translated into four straight wins, including a 42-24 pasting of Bella Vista of Sacramento.
“The night before we played, we watched a Monarchs’ game,” Carter said. “Knowing that we played on the same floor as the Monarchs was pretty cool to think about.”
Another highlight was finishing runner-up to Garfield of Los Angeles in the consolation finals at the Reno High tournament. South Tahoe’s tournament log included wins over perennial state title contenders Galena and McQueen.
A dedicated and polished group of seniors, including Lindsay Hitt, Carter, Jen Galea, Beth Hickman, Danielle Kelleher and Crystal Bruzzese, are helping the program turn the corner.
Carter says the longer summer season has helped the team find chemistry, something that was lacking during the frustrating prep season.
“Four of us, Lindsay, Jen, Beth and I, we want to win so badly, go the playoffs and zone. We just want everybody to step up so we can make it this year,” Carter said. “We need the seniors on this team to do well. We need some leadership on the team, someone to follow during the game.”
Kelleher is making the biggest strides in the off-season, according to Jaureguito.
“I didn’t expect her to improve as much as she has,” Jaureguito said. “She does so many good things.”
Jaureguito ceased club play July 22 so his players could enjoy the remainder of the summer and prepare for their fall sports. But Carter and Hitt didn’t put away their high-tops. They were invited to USA Junior Nationals in Atlanta. More success followed as their regional team won 18 of 21 games and finished fifth out of 48 teams.
“It just opened my eyes to see how many other people are interested in basketball; there are really, really good girls out there; and competition is tough to get into college,” Carter said.
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