Young girls’ basketball team hopeful of success heading into CCS playoffs

The Palo Alto High School girls’ basketball team looks to end its successful season with a league win and a trip to the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs.

After a recent loss against Los Gatos High School, the team members immediately redeemed themselves with victories against Milpitas High School (79-21) and Wesley College (68-31). The Lady Vikes maintain an overall record of 8-6 and a league record of 1-1.

Among the typical obstacles each team faces every season, the Lady Vikes have faced the unique circumstance of an all-underclassmen team. The two upperclassmen, senior captains Hope Crockett and Charlotte Alipate, have dealt with injuries during the season.

Freshman Amelia Schmarzo believes that the all freshman and sophomore team faces occasional hardships, such as being unfamiliar with certain aspects of high school basketball compared to its opponents.

However, Schmarzo believes that the team has been able to thrive regardless of being a very young team.

“Our team has been playing together for a while,” Schmarzo said. “The team is not brand new, and we have all developed chemistry.”

In addition to playing standard games against other high school teams, the Lady Vikes participated in the Under Armour Silver State Slam girls’ basketball tournament at McQueen High School in Reno, Nev. toward the end of December.

“We won two games and lost one game at the tournament,” Schmarzo said. “The team that we lost to [Reed High School] competes for the state title of Nevada and one of their players is going to a top basketball school, so we knew it was going to a be tough game going into it.”

The Lady Vikes have been shooting an impressive 31 percent from behind the arc, led by Schmarzo, who has connected on 39 percent of her three-point shots this season.

The team has been putting up an average of 62.3 points, 30 rebounds and 15 assists per game.

Freshman Lauren Koyama leads the team in scoring, averaging just over 11 points per game on 37 percent shooting.

Maddy Atwater leads the team in assists at 4.9 per game and chips in about six points per game.  She’s certainly not opposed to giving out assists.

Sophomore Courtney Lovely notes a memorable moment at the tournament.

“One of the most exciting things that we have achieved this season was making 17 three-pointers in our game against the Falcons,” Lovely said.

The team plays Wilcox tomorrow, Jan. 28, in Santa Clara, in hopes of improving their current record. Its next home game will be against Milpitas on Jan. 31.