Short-handed Basketball Loses NorCal Opener

Nikki Honda, Sports Editor

With the crippling loss of 2 starters, the girls’ basketball team’s season came to an end in the 1st round of the NorCal tournament.

The 7th seeded Cougars lost to 10th ranked Soquel High School on March 12.

Before the game had even begun however, the team faced serious adversity.

During the week prior to the game, key player freshman Brooke Panfili transferred to Acalanes High School and junior veteran Kaylyn Murray was suspended for 2 games.

Both Panfili and Murray were starters and played the majority of minutes at their positions during the regular season.

According to sophomore Emily Lyall, the team was at a disadvantage in terms of the numbers of players they had on the bench. In addition to the absence of Panfili and Murray, junior Julie Meng could not play due to injury and freshman Rebecca Hull was at a lacrosse commitment.

The team had to play with 8 people, giving them only 3 substitutes for the entire game.

Soquel took a lead in the first quarter, but Campolindo fought back to tie the game at half time. According to junior Rachel Sniderman, the team had not seen much footage of their opponent prior to the game so they did not know what to expect. She said Campolindo kept catching up, but Soquel was making all their outside shots.

Soquel also made a majority of their free throws. “We had to foul them at the end to stop the clock and that was hard to catch up from,” said Sniderman.

Lyall believed her team did not have many turnovers and played hard in spite of the handicap.  “I think a lot of people stuck through it and they knew that we needed to hustle and no one ever gave up on any play,” she said. However, she thought the their free-throw shooting was poor.

With so many star players out, the Cougars were forced to distribute the offense. “We found more scoring than just relying on one person,” Lyall said. “It was cool to see no one give up.  People were still fouling, knowing the game wasn’t over,” she added.

Sniderman said, ” I think we played well. I think we played with heart and that’s what our coaches asked us to do before the game.”

This was head coach Art Thoms’ first year of coaching the varsity team. “Through everything that happened he finished strong for us and I appreciate that and respect that a lot,” Lyall said.

Thoms thought the team effort was fantastic. “Ultimately, we just had an off shooting night and defensively we could have been better,” he said.

Lyall said she respects Soquel’s team because they were nice and had good sportsmanship. “They’re a good team and I do wish them the best of luck,” she said.

“I think we did everything we possibly could with the people that we had. I’m just really happy with the way we played after everything that’s happened to us,” Lyall said.

Thoms said the team improved a ton. “They transitioned into a whole new offensive system and our goals were to make NCS and Norcal, which we did,” he said.