By Ray Hamill — The Huskies are young, fast and eager to surprise some of their Big 5 rivals this season.
At the very least, they should offer more of a challenge than they have recently, and some difficult matchups for the league frontrunners.
“To be honest, we have a good IQ for the game,” Fortuna head coach Jesse Genaro said. “And we’re fast. We’re going to push the ball.”
After finishing in the bottom two in the league standings in each of the past four seasons, the Huskies will be hoping to climb up the standings this winter.
And they might just have the balance and depth to do so.
In particular, the maturation of 6-foot-0 junior center Charlotte Carroll, in her second year with the varsity squad, gives a guard-heavy team more options.
“Having Charlotte’s inside presence is going to help us a lot,” the head coach said, describing the junior as “probably the best post player up here.”
The fourth-year head coach will also rely heavily on his three senior co-captains Camrin Dolcini, Bailey Parker and Jordyn Quen.
The Huskies feature a roster of 10 players, including seven juniors, and Genaro feels confident he has plenty of depth to choose from, so fans can expect to see plenty of rotation.
“Especially with us running the break,” he said.
A pair of juniors — Grace Shaha and Moncerrat Bernal — are also expected to play major roles this season.
One of the Huskies’ goals this season is to make it back to the North Coast Section playoffs after missing out a year ago.
And Genaro feels his team is headed in the right direction toward achieving that goal and more.
“I feel like we’re different from what we’ve been in the past,” he said. “And they’re a super tight group of girls.”
Rounding out the squad are juniors Morgan Murray, Mckenzie Emmons, Zoe Zerlang and Gabby Chapmen.
The Huskies opened the season at the Marin Catholic tournament over the weekend, finishing 1-2.
Most impressively, however, they turned in some stellar defensive performances, setting the tone for the season.
“Our defense was phenomenal down there at Marin Catholic,” Genaro said. “To keep Marin Catholic to 54 points when they were putting up 70 for most of the tournament.”
The Huskies also kept Campolindo in check, defeating the Cougars 44-27 in their finale.
The Huskies opened against the host school, falling 54-39, with Quinn and Carroll each finishing with a team-high 11 points.
In game two, they fell 50-46 to Urban, with Carroll scoring 20.
Dolcini led the way against Campolindo with 11 points, while Quinn added 10 and was named all-tournament.
It was the Fortuna girls’ first action of the season after their scheduled jamboree at Windsor a couple of weeks ago was canceled.
And the coach said it made a difference.
“I really feel if we had played a couple of games (beforehand), we could have won one or two more games,” Genaro said.
“That being said, I liked what I saw.”
The Huskies will be back in action at the Healdsburg tournament this week, tipping off on Thursday against El Molino at 5:30 p.m.
Next week, Fortuna will be among the local teams competing at the McKinleyville tournament.