Girls’ varsity basketball is motivated to improve after defeat to Marin Catholic

The varsity girls basketball team played their first rivalry game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 7, losing to Marin Catholic (MC) 32-65 at home in a hard fought battle. While MC’s proficiency was a challenge, the team showed a sense of spirit and persistence that will be carried on throughout the year.

Head coach Zach Borello recognized the significance of the game, outlining the benefits of playing MC early in the season. 

“It’s Marin Catholic versus Redwood: a huge rival game, a ton of people there, the first time there were fans in the stands in a long time,” Borello said. “I kept telling [the girls], ‘It’s good we’re experiencing this now in December, because this will set us up for success down the line.’”

Stretching out her arms on defense, senior Selma Deisz looks to deflect the ball from her opponent.

The team struggled in the first quarter, going scoreless in the first seven minutes and giving up 12 points within that time period. 

Senior Bridgette Ryning attributes this lack of production to initial pressure and inadequate discipline on offense. 

“I think there were nerves going into the first quarter, we were not playing our game. Shots were not falling and MC was very fast, but we were thinking, ‘ok, we need to slow it down,’” Ryning said.

After continuing to struggle at the beginning of the second quarter, the team gained composure, going on a 11-6 scoring run in the final two minutes. While they were still down on the scoreboard, they gained necessary momentum going into the second half. 

“You can always expect us to work hard,” Ryning said. “We have yet to come across a game where we have not been playing to our absolute max, so you can expect us to become smarter and more experienced as the season progresses.”

Shooting from the freethrow line, senior Bridgette Ryning attempts to bring up the score in Redwood’s first matchup against MC this season.

The Giants came out in the second half looking much stronger, locking down their opponents on defense and communicating effectively with one another on offense. Coach Borello emphasized his team’s potential considering these moments of competitiveness and tenacity. 

“In the first half, we almost gave [MC] 29 extra possessions with turnovers and offensive rebounds and we lost the half 35-11. In the third quarter, we turned the ball over four times, [MC] got three offensive rebounds, and we won the quarter 16-13,” Borello said. “The key to our success is finding the belief within ourselves and thinking, ‘We played that well in the third quarter, so if we can do that for four quarters, look where we’re going to be.’”

While they did show resilience, Redwood was not able to compensate for their early struggles. 

Senior Haley Rothbart noted the teams’ challenges in their first full season back after COVID-19 regulations, but expressed her confidence for the future.

Dribbling the ball, sophomore Tatum McPeek examines the court, hoping to make a play.

“There’s a lot of new players that many of us are not familiar with, and we are going to keep building off of our improvement and preparing more, especially against MC,” Rothbart said. “We have a new coach which is an adjustment, but we have a lot of heart, even though sometimes our skills are not as good as other teams. If we keep fighting hard, that is what will get us to success.”

Borello similarly established a positive mindset going forward, convinced of his team’s ability to work hard and advance their skills.

“I would expect that the next time we play Marin Catholic, it is going to be a different outcome,” Borello said. “I would expect the kids showing up to practice motivated and ready to go rather than dejected. With some of these mistakes and the times we were not doing as well in the preseason, you are going to start to see that flip.”

More motivated than ever, the varsity girls will continue their season with high aspirations, with their next game against San Marin on Dec. 17. They will play MC again on Jan. 20, a game that Borello and the rest of the team is looking forward to.

“I wrote up Jan. 20 and circled it, so we have that one marked on our calendar,” Borello said. “If I’m Marin Catholic, I do not want to play Redwood again.”