By: Emily Crowl
You will be able to hear the game before you see it. Girls Basketball is a loud, competitive, energetic, and supportive program for Tustin High girls. The program, lead by our very own Coach Gocke, takes in girls who may have never played basketball before and shapes them into seasoned players with talent and an affinity for the court.
Many people may think just because this is girls basketball, that the game and practices are easier. I’d beg to differ. All the girls, inexperienced or not, are committed to the program year-round and they practice almost every day of the week for at least two hours. Practice consists of many diverse drills and conditioning.
At the Frosh/Soph level, there are many inexperienced players who have a thirst to learn. This year, the team consists of mostly frosh (freshmen) girls, with the exception of a handful of sophomores. Coach Means, a former student and Varsity basketball player here at Tustin High, says that, “This year, the group of girls as a whole, have great potential”. She has no doubt that this season, “will be a good season”. Also on the coaching staff of frosh/soph is Coach Onaga, another former Tiller and Varsity player, and newly introduced Coach Carlos.
Valeria Arias, a freshman this year and guard for frosh/soph didn’t expect to be on the team, “because there were so many people at tryouts”. She is really excited for season, believing, “As long as we’re all good with each other, we should be able to play good”. Cassandra Hernandez, a sophomore and a returning player to frosh/soph is eager to, “improve a lot more and potentially be on JV or Varsity next year.” She says her team, “actually means a lot to [her]” because they are the ones she gets to share her passion with. Overall, the frosh/soph team is gearing up for another intense season with their eyes on winning league.
At the JV level, seasoned players come together for rigorous practices, games, wins, and losses. The JV team this year consists of a majority of girls who have been in the program since their freshman year. Also on the team are two returners, ready to attack the court. The coaching staff consists of Coach Pulu, Coach V, and Coach Schaller. Coach Pulu comments that this year the coaches are, “trying to utilize [the players’] strengths to make a cohesive team” so that they can, “rise to any challenges [their] opponents have to give”. At the JV level, it is more than just, “basic fundamentals and mechanics. It’s developing [and] increasing court awareness, being creative in set plays, learning defense variations, [and] having both physical and mental game”. Coach Pulu has high expectation for the JV team. She expects each player to give, “100% effort in practices and games because they owe that to their teammates”.
Caroline Ek, one of two point guards for JV and a freshman at Tustin High School is stoked for JV’s season. She feels like that the coaches are, “really rough and strict”, but she knows, “that’s how you get better. Other than that, they are really nice”. Kim Hernandez, the other point guard for JV is also stoked for this season. She driven by her love for basketball and search for improvement in the game and her leadership skills. This season, Kim hopes that the team can, “become a real family”. Be sure to come to a few of the JV games: they’re sure to bring out the Tiller pride.
Lastly, the cream of the crop in Girls Basketball: The varsity team. Coach Gocke herself leads this team into season of intense games, tough challenges, and an overall true family experience. The team this year consists of a new crop of players and a few returners. Gocke expects that this year the group of girls will, “play together as a team and continue to build on the foundation that has been set the last 3 years”. She wants her, “players to learn about more than just the game of basketball”. She hopes for them, “to continue to grow into respectful, driven, young adults,..them to measure success through efforts, not wins and losses, and [to] form an unbreakable bond”.
Be sure to come out and support all levels of Girls Basketball–It is guaranteed to be an adrenaline-rush experience without a dull moment on the court.
To keep yourself updated on THS Girl’s Basketball, follow @coachgocke/@TustinHS on Twitter or @tustintillers on Instagram!