By Brendan Connelly and Helen O’Neal, Online News Editor and Online Shadow Editor
// After a season of hard work, the varsity women’s basketball team culminated their efforts in a final victory in the Northern Coast Section (NCS).
The team beat Northgate High School (57-37) on Friday, Feb. 25 claiming the NCS division two title.
The team began training for the season in August, consistently working hard to get in peak form for the season.
“We, the coaching staff, knew how hard we had to work to get where we’re going to be, since [the team has] no seniors. So right off the bat, we were doing weights and track runs. We started out at two days a week and went to four days a week,” head coach Margaret Gartner said.
This hardworking mentality continued throughout the season, leading to the team’s success.
“Everyone was really hard working. Everyone took it seriously. We knew that we needed to improve because we’re [a] really young team, so we just listened to our coaches,” varsity forward and junior Emily Du said.
Before the team’s ultimate success in winning NCS, the team had a phenomenal record and was the first seed coming into NCS.
“This season, our team has played amazing together. We won 19 games in a row and we won our league. We got a bye the first game of NCS since we were the one seed and then went on to win NCS for [division two]. Teamwork, perseverance, and determination were our mottos,” varsity guard and wing and frosh Sophie Chinn said.
Many Acalanes students showed up to support the team for Friday’s game, which meant a lot for the team.
“We were really hyped up throughout the game. I think the students section was really a part of [the excitement]. And then it was our third time playing Northgate, so we knew how they played, and so we knew what we needed to do to win against them,” Du said.
In general, students found the game exciting and fun to watch.
“It was one of the most intense games… All of the plays were very smooth, and I really enjoyed watching it… The fourth quarter was very exciting. Everyone was so happy fourth quarter, and you could see the excitement and see the commitment. The non-stop fighting [to] win,” junior Hanna Mirzai said.
The players were also happy with the game and had many memorable moments.
“We came out on fire and got up to a quick lead. Throughout the game, we kept pushing and did not let up. We had incredible support from our student body and friends and family. My favorite moment of the game was when I hit a deep three at the end of the third quarter and the fans went crazy,” Chinn said.
The team was originally seeded to compete as the NCS division two champions in division two of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state playoffs. However, due to the CIF’s undisclosed circumstances, the team is currently the sixteenth seed in the division one state playoffs. The team will compete today in an away game against the division one first seed, Salesian College Preparatory School.
“I was really surprised to find out that [the women’s varsity basketball team] was the sixteenth seed in division one. I am not sure what the criteria were to go ahead and pull them up, and I’m not sure if other teams in division three suddenly got bumped up to division two,” athletic trainer Chris Clark said. “If [the CIF] were a little more transparent about their selection process… it would have been nice to at least understand and give the coaches and players and fans to understand why the change happened.”
For next season, the team hopes to continue this year’s successes and potentially win the state championship.
“We hope we improve and gain experience this year. We get to do better next year, dominate more. Hopefully, people that love basketball, like to get up and down the court, and are willing to work well, try out,” Gartner said.