By Ethan Lachman ’21
The varsity girls basketball team continued their success from last year’s season as they jumped off to a strong start and amassed a record of 16-4 not including their game played on Thursday, in which the results were unavailable. The squad participated in three tournaments to test their skills before league play began, and they placed highly in each one. They won the championship at the Redondo Union High School Battle of the Beach tournament from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2, as well as another championship at the Harvard-Westlake Holiday Classic from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23. The group even traveled to Texas to face teams outside of California in the Meadows Classic tournament from Dec. 28 to Dec. 30 in which they finished as runner-ups. “I just love the team, and our coaches are amazing, and our seniors really give us a lot of advice starting on varsity” forward Kiki Iriafen ’21 said. The varsity squad is led by Girls Basketball Program Head Melissa Hearlihy, who is currently in her fifteenth year of coaching at the school. Under Hearlihy, the team has put together numerous successful seasons. This year, MaxPreps rated the varsity squad as the number eighth best team in the nation and the second best team in California. Hearlihy said that they are hoping to make another run at an open division championship. “We were ranked nationally, we dropped a couple spots. Were ranked two in the state. Because we have so much backing with the twins and they bring so much to the table, I feel really good. Our first goal is obviously to win league. We haven’t won league in a while,” Hearlihy said. The JV team has also started off their season with a winning record of 6-3 not including their game on Thursday, in which the results were unavailable.. The squad competed in the Burroughs tournament from Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, finishing as the runner-ups with a record of 2-1. Additionally, in order to prepare for league games, the JV team participated in four non-league games. Guard Paula Gonzalez ’21 played club basketball for many years, and she spoke on her favorite parts of high school basketball in comparison to club. “For sure winning, but I guess it’s way different from club and it’s faster,” Gonzalez said. The middle school girls red team jumped immediately into league play playing no games prior to the beginning of the Delphic League play and have accumulated a 1-3 record. The team was originally scheduled to play another game; however, due to the Skirball Fire, one league game was cancelled. Even though the team did not find their desired success in the beginning of the season, the players said that they are enjoying themselves. “I like what I play and going against girls that are better than me because I can improve my skills,” guard Lily Weiskopf ’23 said. The middle school black basketball team also began league play right away, and started off the season with an 0-3 record. Like the red team, the black basketball team had a game cancelled due to the recent fires. Players spoke on their desires for the rest of the season. “I think that my team just needs to improve on working together on the court during games. My hopes for the rest of the season are to really improve in our games and for us as a team to improve in our skills. If we can accomplish these goals, I think we will have really grown as a group,” guard Quincy Dern ’22 said in an email. Although they have not won any games yet, Hearlihy said that the main goal for the middle school program as a whole is for players to improve for their potential futures in the high school program.“The goal of the middle school is to get them ready to play at a higher level. One, we want to make sure that they have [fun], you know, fun in sports, but fun is being competitive….I want them to get fundamentally better. I want them to enjoy playing basketball,” Hearlihy said.