BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
As we did with the boys last week, it's time to take a look at how things have gone early and how they're expected to go the rest of the way for girls basketball season. I'll post each of the four main Kern County league previews here over the next 24 hours or so (God and Mayan Calendar willing). Give me your thoughts on the teams and leagues in the comments.
SOUTH SEQUOIA LEAGUE
1. Chavez 35 (5)
2. Shafter 32 (2)
3. Taft 22
4. Arvin 21
5. Bakersfield Christian 14
6. Wasco 13
7. Kennedy 10
(First-place votes in parentheses; coaches were asked to predict order of finish for the league but did not vote for their own team; points talled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis)
Notes: Four returning starters, including two seniors and three third-year varsity players, have Chavez thinking big early in the year. The Titans moved in from the East Yosemite League, where they were 6-20 over the past two seasons, but they're already 9-2 with victories over Visalia-Mount Whitney, Fresno-Central, Delano and Fresno-Hoover. ... The more traditional favorite would be Shafter, which returns 20-point-per-game scorer Hannah Ramirez and third-year varsity player Brittany Fowler, plus post player Kendyl Estes. Shafter coach Kevin Edgmon said that with Ridgeview up to Division II, his team's realistic goal is to be playing at 2 p.m. March 2 in Fresno's Selland Arena -- that would be the D-III girls section championship. ... Taft has also started hot at 12-2, with post Kennedy Kunce averaging a double-double. Coach Chuck Hagstrom is also using an aggressive half-court defense that has allowed only 26.1 ppg thus far. ... Arvin loses Claesy Tarver but returns six seniors, including Catherine Valadez, who is just back from an ACL injury. Until she regains form, guard Luz Morales will carry the load offensively. ... Kern County coaching legend Frank Thiessen has started his second stint with the Bakersfield Christian team and will rely on a deep team that features sophomore forward Olivia Espinoza. ... First-year coach Sarah Ortiz-Unruh has Wasco off to a 5-5 start behind point guard Emily Esnoz and center Karyssa Shugart. ... Kennedy will be led by Carmen Ontiveros and Aliyah Usochu, athletic players who will be counted on to do a bit of everything.
Quotable: "Chavez is piling up wins, Wasco's gotten better, Taft has gotten better, Arvin's rebuilding but still good, Bakersfield Christian has gotten better. We're not taking anybody lightly."
-- Shafter coach Kevin Edgmon