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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Girls’ basketball adjusts to new mix

As the days get colder and fog fills the Valley, school gyms, once devoid of activity, are now filled with the sights and sounds of the basketball season. The varsity girl’s basketball team practices diligently dreaming of a successful season.

Since several players who had a key part in last year’s West Sierra League Championship have graduated, the current team faces many changes they must learn to cope with in order to be successful. New team leadership must be implemented, and the team, of which half of the members are newcomers to the varsity level, must learn to come together and play as a unit. Yet, in spite of all this, a winning season is expected.

“I think the team will do fairly well this year,” Dan Avila, varsity girls head coach, said. “We probably should win league, and I’d like to see us advance to at least the second round of the playoffs.”

Kristy Howard, ’04, is one of the former JV players bumped prematurely up to the varsity level as a sophomore, to fill in one of the roster spots left empty. Young as she may be, Howard is well qualified for the job, having played basketball for six years.

“Varsity is a lot more challenging then JV,” Howard said. “I like being on varsity, but it has been a pretty difficult adjustment. On the varsity level, its like they speak a whole different language from JV. It takes awhile to learn, and then to adjust.”

Howard started playing basketball in the 5th grade where she was coached by Scott Falk, campus pastor. Howard credits Falk for teaching her how to play the game.

“I played all the sports I could in elementary school,” Howard said. “So when basketball season started, I thought it looked fun, so I signed up, and I’ve been playing basketball ever since.”

In their first game playing together as a team, FC lost a close game to CVC in a fundraiser scrimmage early in the season.

“I think we lost the CVC scrimmage because we didn’t have our entire team together at a practice up till then,” Avila said. “Our timing was just really off. We could also use some work on our rebounding and outside shooting.”

Despite the challenges the girls face, this year’s team is an undeniably a gifted one. The players bring a wide array of talents to the table.

“We’ll have a good team this year,” Avila said. “Our man to man defense is a huge strength for us. We’ve also got a good handle on the fundamentals, and lots of experienced players who know the game well.”

Jennifer Jesser, ’02 is one of the experienced players Avila depends on. As a senior, she has stepped up to provide leadership for the team as one of four team captains.

“Jenn has great knowledge about the game; she understands basketball,” Avila said. “She works hard all of the time and sets a good example for the rest of the team. Jenn is very coachable, and she plays incredible defense.”

Jesser has been playing basketball since Kindergarten, when her father taught her the basics of the game. Her dad continues to be her best and favorite coach, acting as assistant coach for the varsity team.

Having played basketball for 13 years, Jesser has had many great experiences playing the game. She singles out tournaments as her favorite part of the game, and, as a member of last year’s highly successful team, she has many good memories of last year’s season.

With her many years of experience, Jesser knows what a winning team looks like, and, in spite of the current team’s numerous obstacles, she has hope for the approaching season.

“We’re going to have to work hard to be successful,” Jesser said. “We’ve lost lots of players from last year. But with lots of hard work, I think we can pull through.”

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