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Foresthill girls want to win school's first section crown

Wildfires have never captured a SJS crown in any sport
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Foresthill’s girls basketball team has two goals this season: win league and section titles.

The Wildfires have accomplished the former, but never the latter.

In fact, no team at Foresthill High School, established in 2004, has ever captured a Sac-Joaquin Section crown.

Wildfires coach Sean Namanny believes winning one would do wonders for Foresthill.

“The hard thing about a new school is establishing tradition,” the coach said. “When you’re winning league titles or section titles or players are getting scholarships, it establishes traditions. It makes younger kids say, ‘I want to play Foresthill basketball.’”

Namanny thinks this year’s Foresthill team, which features eight seniors on a roster of nine, is capable of going the distance.

“It’s going to be a challenge and we’ll have to do a lot of work to get there,” he said. “I know these girls can compete with anybody.”

On Friday, the Wildfires nearly ran Vacaville Christian (0-1) off the court in a 70-27 victory in the opening round of the Forest Lake Christmas Classic tournament.

Using a full-court press and run-and-gun offense, the Wildfires (1-0) stormed out to a 49-15 lead at the break. 

“We’re a really quick team,” said senior Sadie Stroup, who had 21 points on the night. “We’re really good at defense.”

The Wildfires are set to take on Union Mine at noon Saturday in the winner’s bracket of the tournament.

Stroup and her teammates have been playing together since the third grade, when they competed in ARD games.

“We’re all really close so that helps a lot,” she said. “We’ve all played together since we were little. I think the chemistry is going to help us a lot.”

While the girls overpowered Vacaville Christian, they acknowledge they aren’t playing perfect ball.

“We need to work on a lot of stuff,” said senior Cherish Miles, who scored 20 points Friday, 18 of which came in the first half. “… Like communicating a lot more.”

Said Namanny: “Right now, we’re a little rough on the edges. We’re getting by on raw talent, but we need to focus and improve on the little details.”

The team figures to throw out a starting five of Emily Perez, Allie Bentley, Mikaela Kramer, Miles and Stroup until injured point guard Bella Engbretson (hip) returns. Namanny said she should be back in a couple of weeks — and hopefully in time for Central Valley California League play, which beings on Jan. 3.

Last year Foresthill went 18-8, finished in second place in the league standings with a 9-3 record and was knocked off in the second round of the Div. V SJS playoffs. The Wildfires won the league crown in 2010-11.

While the girls are looking forward to CVCL play, they won’t be taking any nights off.

“We don’t plan on taking any team lightly,” Miles said. “We’re always going to play our hardest.”

 

Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel