Travel yields tournament win, team bonding
By Carly Beard and Alyssa Nunez, The Standard
For the first time in any female sports program the girls basketball team left the continental states by traveling to Alaska for the Doc Larson Basketball Invitational during the first week of January.
During the Alaskan tournament the team went 3-0 and won the tournament. Other than the experience of playing in below zero weather, the girls also got to spend some time exploring the Alaskan terrain and culture.
“It’s so amazing getting to experience these trips with my teammates. First Oregon was so cool getting to go to Nike headquarters and just hanging out was fun. But Alaska was amazing, just so beautiful out there. We did so many activities like ice fishing snowmobiling. So much fun out there but of course we always made sure to focus when necessary.” Ashley Chevalier (‘20) said.
Before they went to Alaska they went to the Nike tournament in Oregon, where the competition was much better They took third with a record of 3-1 in the tournament losing their only game in double overtime and then coming into the next game beating the No. 1 team in the state of Oregon.
“This year feels special.They all just get along really well; there is no alpha dog personality that dominates everything. For us, they get to take a two week trip and not get tired of each other. They always hang out, they enjoy each other’s company; they love playing basketball together,” Head Coach Alicia Komaki said.
For the first time they are ranked fourth in the state, which is the highest they have ever been ranked, even with their young roster. The team was able to stand strong these last two years and has overall been the best team Komaki has ever coached, even with the lost of three key seniors that helped the team to a state championship.
With only three seniors who could not play last year because of the transfer rule and two juniors. Even though the team is relatively new playing together their bond is strong according to players. The new players feel welcomed by the rest of the team according to the freshman.
“At first I felt uncomfortable being a freshman just trying to figure out my place on the team but the girls made it easy. Especially coming in and being a starter, I was nervous but my team helped me settle in. I truly love my team and it’s going to be so sad to see my seniors go but they all will do big things at the next level,” Chevalier said.
The only senior who has been on the team all four years is Long Beach commit Alexis Griggsby (‘17). She is Komaki’s star player this year but believes she can rely on anyone on the team for points at any point in a game. Other key players Sophia Jacobsson (‘17) and Ryann Payne (‘18) who are big scorers. Savannah Lewis (‘17), and Amanda Olinger (‘19) are both able to come off the bench to score for the team.
“[Griggsby] is my four year starter, leader, and captain. She is definitely the leader of the team. We have a lot of contributions from a lot of people. So we kinda have the superstar [Griggsby] who is the leader and scores a lot of points in our game, but we have anybody who can go up and score 25-30 points a game,” Komaki said.