By Ray Hamill — The South Fork Cubs will be tested right off the bat in girls basketball this week, when they travel to play a dangerous Laytonville team in their season opener on Thursday.
The Warriors are coming off back-to-back North Coast Section championship game appearances and are expected to be competitive again this year, giving the Cubs a challenge right out of the starting gates.
“That’s going to be a tough task for us in the first game,” first-year head coach Chris Contreras said. “We’ll find out where we are.”
Contreras has six players back from last season’s team, including three seniors, on a roster of 10, so experience shouldn’t be a problem.
Adjusting to a new look, however, might take a little time, although the players have been working hard over the first few weeks of practice.
“We’re looking good. It’s still a work in progress, with a new coach and a new offensive system, but the girls are doing good,” Contreras said.
The coach is still playing around with a starting lineup and feels he has some quality depth at his disposal.
And effort ha snot been a problem.
“This group is giving maximum effort,” he said. “I’m really stoked at how good practice was the last couple of weeks. They’re hustling and doing all the little things.”
Among the six returners, Contreras will be looking for some leadership from senior Hailie Haseslip, junior Kaylei Valk, and sophomores Kaylee Cotter and Michaela Mcmahan, each of whom will start in the opener, along with junior Jade Johns.
Also back from last season are senior Mirna Navarrette and junior Sarah Richardson, each of whom are also expected to play a big role.
Among the newcomers this season are a pair of talented freshmen athletes, Summer Contreras and Macy Yarbrough, as well as senior Carolina Pineda.
“We have a good balance,” said the head coach, who will be hoping for some versatility from his players.
“We’re going to try to play position-less basketball,” he added.