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The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

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Despite quarterfinal loss to Mills, girls’ basketball reflects positively on progress

Sophomore+Haleh+Ansari+attempts+to+score+a+layup+basket+in+the+first+round+of+CCS+playoffs+against+Jefferson+High+School+on+Feb.+17.
Jeannine Chiang
Sophomore Haleh Ansari attempts to score a layup basket in the first round of CCS playoffs against Jefferson High School on Feb. 17.

Girls’ basketball has come a long way. Despite a disappointing campaign last year and an inexperienced roster coming into this season, the team’s young talent has stood its ground and brought the program back to its winning ways. In fact, the Panthers (15-11) tripled last season’s (5-19) win total — and there is no doubt that the tight-knit bonds the team forged along the way were a major contributor to the group’s success.

“[This year], we have a whole new group of girls which was very different from last year. Looking back, I’m just really proud of how far we’ve come and how we’ve persevered through the whole season,” junior and co-captain Hailey Miller said. “We’ve gotten so close as a team, and I’m really proud of that.”

But the unbreakable team bond could not have kept the Panthers together without one crucial figure: head coach Ned Diamond.

“We had a whole new coaching team this year. Ned was our head coach and he really taught us a lot,” senior and co-captain Sofia Cavalieri said. “The previous head coach ran things differently and last year’s team didn’t get to CCS. [Ned] was very close to detail about every little thing. He gave us a lot of materials to work with and a lot of resources to help us grow as a team.”

Under Diamond’s leadership, the squad made it to the second round of Division lll Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs by defeating both Jefferson High School and Live Oak High School.

When the Panthers beat Jefferson High School 44-32 in the first round of CCS playoffs on Friday, Feb. 16, Burlingame was able to dominate on both sides of the court from the start, establishing a lead they would maintain throughout. Junior Hailey Miller gained possession on the first play game and converted it into a basket, setting the tone for her instrumental performance. Miller was also a beast on fast breaks, and with the help of starters sophomore Addie Uhrich and juniors Miranda Sibley and Natalie Gyde, the team grabbed rebounds, played strong team defense and collaborated to find open shots. 

But it was the development of sophomore Haleh Ansari that brought the squad to the next level. Ansari became a weapon defensively late in the season, offering lockdown defense and unmatched grit, constantly fighting for loose rebounds and converting them into shots in the paint. 

“Haleh was such a key player in our success. Genuinely, her defense and her aggressiveness on the court was actually insane,” Cavalieri said. “She really had a lot of growth throughout the season and she was one of the key parts to our success, especially during the CCS tournament.”

Burlingame would go on to secure another win in the playoffs, a 46-41 road victory against Live Oak High School on Feb. 17. However, they just could not surpass Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division champions Mills High School on Tuesday, Feb. 20, falling 62-38 to end their CCS run in the quarterfinal round.

Despite the disappointing ending, the season for the Panthers brought new hope and progress, and far exceeded the players’ expectations. While they couldn’t beat the Vikings, the team will no doubt head into next season with confidence and positive momentum after a strong finish to the year.

With almost all players on the roster set to return, Miller sees an opportunity for Burlingame to build on their progress and come back and improve for next winter. 

“I just think we’ve improved so much this season,” Miller said. “We’ve all struggled and had our personal goals. But the thing is, I feel like we’ve all really accomplished our personal goals and just had a really fun season.”

As the only graduating senior, Cavalieri felt that the team played their best when they worked together, and if the team can continue to grow as a group, girls’ basketball has an exciting future ahead of them. 

“Since I [was] the only senior, I had to be a role model for a lot of the younger girls. I had to set a good example and go into practice bringing positivity and hyping the other girls up when someone got down or discouraged,” Cavalieri said. “Just helping each other really brought our team to success because initially, we were working against each other. But [when] we started bonding and working together, that’s what really helped our success.”

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About the Contributor
Jeannine Chiang, Web Editor
Jeannine Chiang is a junior at Burlingame High School and a second-year journalism student. She is excited to continue journalism as the Web Editor this year. Chiang is involved with many clubs in the school and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and watching her favorite TV shows.
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