Inexperienced girls’ basketball roster fights inconsistency in tournament loss

Senior+and+co-captain+Joy+Yeo+handles+the+ball+before+passing+it+to+a+teammate.+With+nine+new+varsity+players+this+season%2C+the+team+will+rely+on+veteran+leadership.

Zachary Newman

Senior and co-captain Joy Yeo handles the ball before passing it to a teammate. With nine new varsity players this season, the team will rely on veteran leadership.

Zachary Newman, Staff Reporter

Girls’ varsity basketball struggled against a skilled Woodside Priory squad at the Jim Sodden Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 10. With both schools having the same mascots, the battle of the Panthers was a lopsided affair from the opening tip, as Burlingame fell behind 17-5 after the first quarter. They were never able to recover, dropping their fifth straight contest 55-32. 

The night prior, Burlingame valiantly battled in a back-and-forth game with undefeated Terra Nova High School, but eventually lost by a narrow 2-point margin. On Saturday, however, the Panthers were unable to replicate that success, struggling to counter Priory’s aggressive defense and pressure from double teams.

“We had a really good game [against Terra Nova], and then we had a not-so-good game [against Priory],” head coach Joe Dito said. “Although that is attributed to the opponent we played. They were really talented.”

Burlingame opened this season with a subpar 1-6 record, but considering that nine new players are on this year’s roster, mistakes and inconsistent performances are expected. 

“I think we had a lot of ups and downs,” senior Malia Schmidt said. “There were times when we played as a team and other times when we were not as connected. But I feel like we [can] learn from our mistakes.”

The Panthers are still feeling the effects of losing three prominent players from last year’s roster, who all transferred to elite private school teams. At this point in the season last year, the Panthers cruised to a 71-38 victory over Priory, ultimately taking home the trophy in the Jim Sodden Tournament.

Despite a practically brand-new team, there are encouraging signs throughout the roster that suggest the team will only continue to improve going forward.

“[I want] to just keep encouraging everyone,” Schmidt said. “When I see teammates get down, I give them some words of advice and encouragement.”

Schmidt has also been a steady scorer and dominant rebounder so far, racking up 11 points and 22 rebounds against Balboa High School on Nov. 29. Freshman Addie Uhrich poured in 7 points against Priory and was awarded all-tournament team honors. 

“We understand this is a work in progress,” Dito said. “The girls understand what we’re trying to do. They’re all in [on] the program, which is all you can ask for as a coach.” 

Burlingame will spend the upcoming weeks preparing for the Newark Memorial Tournament as a final tune up before their home league opener on Wednesday, Jan. 11 against Aragon High School.

“We’re looking forward to building on our success and watching these players blossom and develop into basketball players,” Dito said. “They never give up, and they try so hard. I’m so proud of [them] all.”