With a loss against Los Altos High School (54-43), a win against Leigh High School (50-42) and a win against South San Francisco (50-43) under its belt, the girls basketball team has started the season 2-1.
“For Los Altos, we came out strong and were pretty solid in the first half, after working in practice to improve from the scrimmages,” junior shooting guard Alana Abeyta said.
“However, since we were up at the end of the half, I think we let that get in our heads and we didn’t put up the same effort in the second half.”
According to Abeyta, the team stepped up in its second game of the season.
“Against Leigh, we worked really hard on the defensive and offensive end and kept it pretty consistent throughout both halves, but I still think the mentality has room for improvement.”
Junior Alana Abeyta
The team has three consecutive Central Coast Section (CCS) Division I Champion titles but failed to clinch its fourth in a row at the CCS quarterfinals against Carlmont High School last year.
However, this year the team hopes to bounce back, according to senior center Esme Stotland.
“I think we’re gonna be the team to beat this season,” Stotland said. “We have almost all of our players back from last season, so we know how our teammates play already, and that will really work in our favor.”
Abeyta agreed with Stotland’s sentiment.
“Our practices overall have been really good and we’re looking really strong,” Abeyta said. “I’m confident we’ll get far this season.”
In anticipation of tough competition this season, the team is working out the kinks in its offensive plays and defense through its preseason scrimmages and practices before putting them in action against neck-and-neck competitors, according to Abeyta.
“Both of our scrimmages were against really tough teams, so the purpose of them was mostly to work on our defense and try out our offensive plays,” Abeyta said.
Abeyta also said they are working on staying calm under pressure on the offensive end, and applying strong, aggressive pressure on the defensive end.
Stotland also said many other teams in the league have lost their starters and leading scorers, unlike the young Paly roster which boasts four underclassmen starters out of five total.
The team only lost one senior, shooting guard and team captain Carly Leong, but is working to fill her position and are confident they will be able to make up for her loss according to Stotland.
“We only had one senior last year so it hasn’t been that bad, but she did score a ton of our points. I still think we’re gonna rock it without her.”
Senior Esme Stotland
Despite the loss, the team feels confident moving forward in the season and is excited to advance through the season, according to both Stotland and Abeyta.
“I look forward to seeing my teammates get better every day We all see the best in each other and want everyone to succeed,” Abeyta said. “We have a really good group of girls this season.”
The team’s next game is against the Menlo-Atherton Bears at Menlo-Atheron High School on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.