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Where do Eagles go from here?

Del Oro rebuilding after run to NorCal championship game
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Fans back to watch the Del Oro girls basketball team will notice a lot of new faces on the court this season. Del Oro coach Mike Takayama said while the Golden Eagles only have three returning seniors from last year’s CIF NorCal finalist team, players with up-and-coming talent will finally get to make their debut. “A lot of new faces definitely. We have three seniors back,” Takayama said. “Obviously Bri(anna Ruiz). She has started for two years and Stephanie Geyer who is a 6-foot post coming off the bench.” The returning seniors are Sam Todhunter, Kelli Blanton and Paige Mckim. Takayama said McKim’s leadership would be important this season. Her skills have matured at a good pace, he said. Freshman Lauren Heyn, who was a key player in the volleyball team’s bid for a CIF Sac Joaquin Section Title along with Ruiz, will be on varsity this year. “We brought up a freshman this year,” Takayama said. “She is 6-foot, very athletic and long, like Belle (Obert) when she was a freshman.” Sophomore Mia Miglinte will light up the scoreboard, according to Takayama. The coach said to beef up their experience, Del Oro is going to play more early-season games, including a tournament it typically takes off. “We kind of front-loaded our season quite a bit this year,” Takayama said. Traditionally, Del Oro runs a tight defense, he said. That may be the Golden Eagles’ biggest challenge this year. “Our inexperience probably shows more on the defense-end because we have always been pretty aggressive defensively,” Takayama said. To the big question looming in the hearts of fans — Will the Golden Eagles have a shot at the section title again, Takayama said it depends on pre-season progress. Nevada Union and Rocklin will probably be Del Oro’s strongest opponents in the Sierra Foothill League, according to Takayama. “I think it all depends on how we progress. From a coach’s standpoint I don’t ever try to compare. Our primary goal will be league,” Takayama said.