Orcutt Academy High School’s talented girls’ varsity basketball team had a memorable and historic season. On Wednesday night, they faced Caruthers High School, who traveled from the Fresno area. Caruthers beat Orcutt Academy 62-49 in an aggressive game that showed for a large audience.
The Spartans, who earned the No. 2 seed in their division with a 10-0 record in Ocean League games, went 24-5 on the season overall, securing the school’s first basketball title in history. The girls practiced religiously, and it surely paid off.
Although they didn’t make it to the CIF State Playoffs, the varsity basketball players are more than proud of what they accomplished. Shooting guard Vanessa Salazar, a senior, has definitely been a player worth noting because of her leadership abilities and overall contribution to the team. “I’m just glad I ended my senior season on a good note,” she says, “I can’t thank my team enough for getting me to where I am today.”
One edge the Spartans know they have on other teams is their defense. According to Salazar, offense seemed to be the primary focus last season, but the tables turned this year. “We realized offense wins games, but defense wins championships,” she points out. Most of the drills in practice aimed towards perfecting their defense, and it definitely translated to the court.
Wednesday didn’t end in their favor, but it was a memorable basketball season for the ladies regardless. “At the end of the day, these girls are family,” says Salazar, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
OAHS’s girls’ basketball seems to have a bright future ahead of them. Although Salazar is graduating, along with other talents like Mariah Lopez and Baylee Pinko, everyone is confident that next year’s squad will be even stronger. Juniors Daenaejah Malicdem and Erynn Padhal were stars on the court this season, not to mention fiery sophomore Giselle Calderon.
With more talent and skill arising in these young local athletes, a devoted coach, and a supportive student body, OAHS girls’ varsity basketball is expected to make history again without a doubt.