Del Oro girls off to strong start

By: Mike Ray
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Now in his third season as Del Oro High’s head girls basketball coach, Shawn Huckaby has plenty of reason these days to be smiling.

Thanks to a combination of a solid cast of returning players and some promising newcomers, Huckaby’s 2018–19 Lady Eagles have roared out of the starting blocks this season to an impressive 7-1 start.

So far this season, Del Oro has handed Colfax its lone loss of the year, swept through the Sonora Tournament, defeated Lodi in a non-league game and went 2-1 in the competitive Rocklin Tournament last weekend.

“Our team is actually younger this season but we have some players with experience,” said Huckaby. “I like the length of the team this year too. We hope to use that to our advantage.”

Since taking over for Mike Takayama, who died suddenly before the start of the 2017 season, Huckaby has led Del Oro the past two seasons to a record of 39-20 with the Lady Eagles qualifying for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs both years and also advancing to the CIF Northern California regional tourney last season.

Del Oro returns its leading scorer and rebounder in the form of 5-foot-11 junior Madison Parry. A year ago as a sophomore, Parry averaged 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds a game in earning All-Sierra Foothill League honors.

Last summer, playing with the Just Believe Sports (JBS) team out of Sacramento, Parry was the MVP of her division as she helped JBS to the championship of the 17-under silver bracket at the Adidas Summer Gauntlet in Atlanta

So far this season, Parry is up to her usual antics as she leads Del Oro in scoring at 19.4 points an outing and also has grabbed 11 rebounds a game. Parry also just went over the career 500-rebound mark.

Another key returning player in the fold for Del Oro is senior guard Jenna Duley. A bona fide 3-point shooting threat, Duley has upped her game this season and has taken some of the scoring load off of Parry by averaging 15.4 points a contest.

Other important cogs for Del Oro include senior guard Kaili Udoffia, junior forward Katie Neal, 5-11 sophomore point guard Natalie Moulos and 6-2 junior center Maya Strautman. Moulos, who was brought up to the varsity from the JVs late last season as a freshman, has been a pleasant surprise, averaging 10 points a game.

Providing more punch to the Lady Eagles’ attack this season has been the efforts of sophomores Camryn Wilson and Megan Williams, freshman Madison Butcher, juniors Ali Isaac, Elaina Hanson and Mia Moore and senior Delaney Davenport.

Next week (Dec. 20–22), Del Oro will host its third annual Mike Takayama “Tako” Memorial Tournament. For the first time, the tournament will use both the school’s Bonner and Yokote gyms and have a full field of eight girls and eight boys teams.

“We have players back that played significant minutes a year ago,” said Huckaby. “The new faces are doing a good job too. So far, that’s been a real plus for us.”