After two seasons under head coach David Woods, the Summerville

girls' varsity basketball team feels like it has the personnel and

experience to make an impact on the Mother Lode League this year.

The Bears' 2012-13 squad comprised of five seniors and six

juniors, some who have been playing on varsity since they were freshmen,

is a first for a team that has lacked experience in recent years.

"This is my third year coaching and the first that we've had

all returning players," said Woods. "With the experience we're hoping to

improve over what we did the past couple of seasons. We've been young

in the past, but we don't have that excuse anymore."

Summerville won three games during the 2010-11 season and six

games last year. Woods said the team has set a goal of 12 wins this

season to once again double their previous win total.

"We finally have the numbers, we're starting to build and the program's getting better," he said.

Woods knows the girls well - he's been coaching them since they

were freshmen and sophomores. He said defense will be a top priority

this year given the strengths of the players.

"This year we're going to try and play some really good defense

because we're not always going to score a lot of points," he said. "We

don't have a girl who we can rely on giving us 20 points each night, so

we also need to spread out the scoring responsibilities. That's going to

be the formula for the games that we win."

However, Woods noted that the journey won't be an easy one as the competition in the MLL has been tough for years.

The Calaveras Redskins won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV

title and advanced to the state championships a year ago, where they

lost in the third round. The MLL has sent four teams to the playoffs in

the past five seasons and has been represented in the last three section

championship games at Power Balance Pavilion.

According to Woods, who also serves as the Sac-Joaquin Section

representative, MLL teams were 22-4 in the preseason last year against

Division I and II teams, which is the best non-conference record of any

league in the section.

"It's tough top to bottom," Woods said of the MLL. "You never

have a game off, there are no weak spots and everybody's good. This

isn't just a tough league, I would say it's the toughest small school

league in Northern California."

Bear seniors, like point guard Krysta Calkins, seem up for the challenge.

"I haven't heard much about the other teams this year but we

have a very strong league," she said. "Of course it's going to be

challenging, but we're going to be playing our hearts out because that's

what we do."

Summerville senior Ashley Gamber said, "All of the seniors have

been on varsity for at least three years, so we all know the other

teams pretty well and I think that's going to give us a big advantage."

The Bears, who begin their season at the Hughson Tournament on

Nov. 29, will also have to draw on the team chemistry they've gained

through years of playing together to compete against some of the

league's more powerful teams, said senior Bella Bachtelle.

"I think the keys are for us to score together, work hard and

never get discouraged or give up," she said. "We know that the other

teams are really good, we just have to go out there and give everything

we have."