Tactics and a close-knit bond take girls’ varsity basketball to the top

Natalia Lazor

Grasping onto their MCAL pennant, the varsity captains smile excitedly.
Grasping onto their MCAL pennant, the seniors smile excitedly.

The last time the Redwood girls’ varsity basketball team took the MCAL pennant was in 1987, according to coach Diane Peterson. Just over 30 years later, the girls grabbed the pennant once more.

According to Peterson, the team was elated to have won an MCAL pennant and end to season with an overall record of 26-5. Though they lost their second game in the North Coast Section, they were eligible and were granted admission into the NorCal Championships, making Redwood history. Although, in their game NorCal game against Whitney, the Giants lost, wrapping up their season.

According to Maxpreps, senior Zoe Stachowski averages 13.2 points per game and this year’s promising, rising freshman, Kylie Horstmeyer averages 9.9 points per game.

Peterson has been coaching the Redwood girls for nine years and counting. With nearly a decade of coaching experience under her belt, Peterson can attest to how this particular group works so well together.

“Every year, the teams really get along, but this is really a family. We always strive to have families, but sometimes teams are stronger than others, and I would say this is definitely one of the strongest,” Peterson said.

Senior guard Sophie McWhorter has been on varsity for all four years of high school. Recalling what is was like to join as a https://vimeo.com/260292299 freshman on a team of mostly upperclassman, McWhorter didn’t experience the same comradery that she now strives to extend to the new members of the current team.

“The difference between the grades normally is our problem, but this year everybody welcomed the freshmen and the new people onto the team,” McWhorter said.

Senior forward Julia Giusti has the same mindset as McWhorter in the way they view their team.

“We got a couple of new players to the team and we knew that the only way that they would be able to do their best is if we supported them, and so we tried to have that mentality throughout the whole season,” Giusti said.

Stachowski commented on progression of Peterson’s coaching techniques and the positive response from the team.

“Since everyone is on the same page, there is less attitude towards the coach and the other girls, leaving the team more time to really expand on their skills,” Stachowski said.

According to Peterson working together comes easily to the girls on this team.

Assistant coach, Estevan Chavez, runs through drills with the team at practice.
Assistant coach, Estevan Chavez, runs through drills with the team at practice.

“As far as practices go, they needed to have their foot on the gas at practices even if it was the day before a game, which typically most teams would say is their light day in practice. Sometimes it would be our hardest [practice] because going into the game the next day, [the opposing team is] playing at a level that we need to be at to succeed,” Peterson said.

Only once this season did they suffer a loss against Newark Memorial, which occurred during the NCS Playoffs.

According to Peterson, she actually sees more learning potential in a loss over a win due to the fact that there is much more to takeaways.

Another contributing factor to the success of the team is a fresh set of leaders. Stachowski, who has been on varsity for three years, said she and her teammates work to lead by example.

“In years past, a lot of our team captains were like a third or fourth coach, so they were super into it and on the coaches side. So it was less of a community,” Stachowski said.

The new community created this year contributed to an unprecedented number of wins. With unrivaled drive and an undeniable connection, the Redwood girls’ varsity team will leave their mark on the school.