Fresh faces make up nearly half of the Palo Alto High School girls’ basketball team (0-1, 0-0) this year following the graduation of six former teammates and the arrival of four new freshmen.
This season, guard Carly Leong is the lone senior on the team. Leong averaged 16.1 points per game last season and told the Voice she hopes her team can win league again.
“It is for sure a challenge just starting out because I had been used to playing with a lot of the varsity people from last year,” Leong said. “But we are getting better every day and working hard.”
Last season’s team won the Division I California Interscholastic Federation Central Coast Section after winning all its league games, advancing to the CIF State Championships. The Vikings took a loss to Lincoln High School in the first round, ending the season with a final record of 22-4, according to Maxpreps.
The Vikings aim to win league again this year, although the team lost more than half of its players from last season, according to Maxpreps.
Varsity head coach Scott Peters said that although the team is young, it is steadily improving as league play approaches.
“The girls that were on the team from last year are trying to pass down all the things … from years past and continue our traditions,” Peters said.
Freshman guard Annika Shah is new to the team this year but hopes she can make an impact and become a leader for the team.
“It’s really cool to be a freshman on varsity,” Shah said. “When I play our opponents, they don’t know anything about me because they haven’t seen me from previous years.”
The four incoming freshmen are not the only new additions this year; the team will play in a new gym as well. With the completion of the Peery Family Center, Peters expects more support at home games.
“Our goal is always to try to win league, so all our league games are gonna be really important,” Peters said. “Hopefully at home, in our new place, we get a crowd coming out and supporting us to give us an advantage.”
According to Peters, the game against Gunn High School usually brings plenty of students to the stands, and Wilcox High School (4-0, 0-0) is a tough competitor for the Vikings in their league.
The Vikings’ first non-conference home match is against Carlmont High School (3-1, 0-0) at 6 p.m. tonight in the Peery Family Center.