As girls’ basketball season begins at Petaluma High, the varsity Trojans are hoping to climb to the top of a new league and leave a lasting impression. With a tenacious group of seasoned upper class players leading the team, along with a flow of high energy and senior wisdom, the Trojans will try to push for another strong season.
Last year’s indestructible team won an SCL title, ending the season with a remarkable 23-6 record. This was the first time Petaluma took home the SCL title since 2013.
On playing in the new Vine Valley Athletic League (VVAL), senior Kassidy Bacon said, “We are in a new league with unfamiliar teams so we need to adjust both our offense and defense to these changes.” In addition to building a smooth offense and implementing more outside shooting, Coach Jon Ratshin said, “I expect us to compete on a daily basis. I don’t put numbers on wins, but if we really work, do the little things, and take care of the ball, we should be challenging for the league title.”
Although the 2018 team has might, they are lacking the height that they lost with last year’s seniors along with Jaden Krist, senior, who tore her ACL. The team hopes to improve rebounding even with the lack of height. Boxing out an opponent usually happens when a player goes for a rebound and tries to position themself first, which disables the opponent from getting a good position for the rebound; this strategy should help the Trojans have the upperhand in tight VVAL affairs. Although technical skill is gravely important, the Trojans recognize and plan to develop better communication on the court to build a stronger, cohesive dynamic. Senior Kaileigh Pate said, “I think we are a pretty close group and we feed off each other. To build our team dynamic I would like to see everyone involved and engaged during every game.” Emphasising the importance of implementing team bonding activities and events outside of school will be crucial in helping with overall team chemistry as well. Coach Ratshin said, “I really like where this team’s attitude is. The players have fun together while working. I think that’s a testament to the leaders. My hope is that we can all learn to push each other to be the best we can become.”
As a whole, the team has speed and quick feet, which will hopefully be to great advantage, as a team without towering height. With most of their top players ready to return and lead, individual strengths will begin to shine through. This year, the Trojans have returners Kaileigh Pate and Kassidy Bacon, who are both sharpshooters and will be forces on the three point line. Leading junior Sheriene Arikat said, “I also think our team chemistry is a big strength. We’re all friends and we all care about each other and that really shows on the court.” Positive attitudes and audience/fan energy, on and off the court, will likely be a key factor in performing as a united force.