With five returning seniors, Maxwell High School’s varsity girls basketball team has a chance to make a run at the Mountain Valley League title in 2017-18.
D.J. Mathis, now entering his second season as head coach, said the Lady Panthers are already familiar with the offense and have a strong comfort level on the court.
Brenda Cano and Mireya Ocampo, seniors playing their third year of varsity ball, are currently sharing the responsibility of running point.
Makayla Mitchell, another three-year varsity veteran, will play in the post alongside fellow seniors Sarah Fleming and Alejandra Ruiz.
“Even when things get crazy, there has been less panic than last year,” Mathis said. “They’re realizing that they need to move to open space, keep moving, and cut to the basket. Good things are happening.”
The Lady Panthers reached the championship game of Greenville’s John Holland Classic last weekend, defeating Greenville and Westwood before falling in the finals to Redding Christian.
“We have a great group of girls,” Mathis said. “They are learning to communicate better on the floor.”
Maxwell only lost one senior, Mallory Mathis, to graduation, and junior Audrey Pearson transferred to Willows. Last year’s squad finished with a 4-9 record (1-4 MVL), missing the playoffs.
Moving up from last year’s JV team are juniors Vanessa Garcia, Giselle Ocampo, Darleen Grewal, and Alejandra Mendoza.
Senior Bailey Wilson, playing for the first time since eighth grade, will also provide depth for the Lady Panthers this year.
“We still need to work on our outside shooting, but everyone is steadily showing improvement and we’re looking forward to a great season.”
Maxwell (2-1) is scheduled to play at Mercy High School in Red Bluff on Dec. 13.