Two seniors. Four juniors. Three sophomores. One freshman. That’s the Sonora High School varsity girls basketball team’s youth movement.
And head coach Amy Emerald sees a lot of potential.
The Wildcats started their season with a Foundation Game win over Oakdale before dropping a tough game to a very good Del Oro High School team 71-27.
“Del Oro is super good and always have been,” Emerald said. “They do everything well. We just got stunned.”
Even though the Oakdale win won’t count for the season, it’s still a confidence booster.
For now, the team is busy working their way through a list of firsts.
It’s the first time this team has played together.
And last week marked the first time they were able to practice together with their full roster.
Two of the players were on the volleyball court, helping the Wildcats’ varsity volleyball team rip through the CIF State Volleyball Championship.
“We’re still kind of figuring things out,” Emerald said.
The Del Oro game was a non-conference game and a chance to gauge skill sets.
“It was kind of a crash course,” Emerald said.
Emerald, who works in the school district office, has been coaching for 21 years.
She played for the Wildcats, too, under coach Gary Smith.
During her senior year, the team made it to section finals, a tough task considering only two teams from each section are invited to the tournament.
Like the volleyball program, basketball has its own legacy of success Emerald said.
That’s what she’ll be focusing on.
Now that the team is together, Emerald said it’s just a matter of time before they start finding success.
“You get a group of girls who can gel and it’s so much easier,” she said.
That comes with more time on the court and more chances to practice as a unit.
After Thursday night’s loss Emerald asked each player to share what they learned from the early-season loss. She was impressed by what she heard.
“They were all really, really good ideas,” she said.
One thing the ‘Cats already have going for them is their speed, which fits well with Emerald’s style.
“We’ll be quick and able to run,” she said.
Next for the Wildcats is a lengthy stretch on the road.
They return home Jan. 5 for a game against cross-town rival Summerville High School. The varsity game starts at 7:30 p.m.