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A Swish Come True!!
December 18, 2022
Ella Sikma, Sports Section Editor
Girls high school sports are constantly overlooked, especially Gahr girls basketball, until recently. Over the past off season for girls basketball there were many changes. For starters, a brand new coaching staff, new uniforms, returning players, and the promise to be the best Gahr girls basketball program that has been seen for awhile.
The team was given a brand new coaching staff in late April/early May. The team’s new head coach, Al Howard, is no stranger to the basketball program, having coached our school’s boys junior varsity team for the last 10 years as well as being an assistant to the boys varsity team with Coach Roper. Roper claimed to be retiring from coaching at the end of the 2022 season, yet returned back to be an assistant coach for the girls basketball 2022-2023 season.
Coach Al took over the program with positivity and optimism. Most other coaches would flee, but Coach Al chose to stay! He took responsibility of a program that had just 18 victories over the previous four seasons combined and had not experienced a winning season since the 2016–2017 season, the only one in the prior nine seasons.“I actually believe that we can do some of the stuff that we did on the boys side, on the girls side. The girls side was a lot slower prior to me taking over the program and the biggest difference you’ll see is that we play a lot faster than we have in the past.”
Eight seniors are back from the 10-player team from last year, however several of them played as sophomores two seasons ago but not last year. Howard predicts Lauryn Teramoto, a senior who played last season along with Alyssa Miyake, will be nominated for Mid-Cities League Player of the Year.
The Gladiators will play several new teams in league because of the creation of the Mid-Cities League and the Gateway League as a part of the new Suburban Valley Conference. Dominguez High will be the only familiar league rival, and Coach Al thinks his squad has a strong chance of claiming one of the top three positions and overcoming a five-year postseason slump.
“I definitely see it being on the upswing,” says the Coach. “The favorable conference change is definitely helpful for what we’re trying to do here-- not having to play Lynwood twice, not having to play Downey and Paramount twice in one season is definitely a morale boost for myself.”
“It definitely won’t be an easy task,” he continued. “What I know is that it’s a more attainable task versus playing Lynwood and those other schools. We tried to get out and play against tougher competition this summer, which I think we fared pretty well.”
Another thing this team has that previous Gahr girls basketball teams never had, is hope. With what seems to be a season to remember and one of the best teams Gahr girls basketball has seen in almost a decade, every member of the team is ready to watch their hard work pay off! The class of 2023, especially!
Junior, Chilah Richard, says “One of the main differences between last year and this year’s season with the coaching staff is, the coaches are actually working with us on what we need to approve on rather than just teaching us new things on top of stuff we don’t know.”
All in all, don’t forget to support this brand new program and team by coming to watch them for yourself in person, on their road to success!
As of about half way through this season, the girls have already beaten Rancho Dominguez, Compton, Palos Verdes, Chadwick, Fullerton, Azusa, Saint Joseph, and Morningside! Not only are they winning, they are also in talks of winning their new league and making a run in the playoffs this season! Follow them along on their new path, by following them on instagram @gahrgirlsbasketball .
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