By Jon Bechtol
The Rams finished their regular season schedule in good spirits holding a 25-4 overall record and now the team is bubbling with excitement to fulfill their aspirations of making a deep postseason run.
The team secured their position as co-champions of the North Coast Conference, with an 8-2 conference record, by defeating Skyline College 88-40 on Feb. 17. They share the conference title with Foothill College and they are likely to get a high seed in the NorCal regional playoffs which begin Feb. 22 and determine the state tournament qualifiers.
Though the women’s basketball program has never won a state title they made history last season with their best finish ever: second in state. The Rams were 10 points away from being state championships last year and the thought hangs in their heads.
“We have a lot of sophomores who didn’t have a good taste after last year and they’re really excited to get back into it,” said coach Hayes. “They’re getting the freshman excited too.”
In last year’s title game Janis Peterson, the 2010-2011 Northern California player of the year, scored just three points and felt she let her team down.
“Last year in the championship game, I let my team down because I didn’t play my best, I only scored three points. Anything I can and have to do I’m going to do it to win the championship,” Peterson said.
Along with Peterson, five other sophomores return from last year’s team: Chiarra Duncan-Perry, Stephanie Lieu, Tiffany Mariano, Samantha Hunkin, and Mariah Turner; giving the Rams plenty of postseason experience.
Freshman have grown and factored into the Ram’s successes over the course of the season and two of them are regular starters: Rachelle Smith and Olivia Overtone-Mayorga. Smith, a forward, recorded a team-high 10 double-doubles this season. Overtone-Mayorga has moved into the team’s starting point guard position and is playing her role well.
Against Skyline, Overtone-Mayorga had 18 first half points. She credited her strong performance to the team’s energy; coming out hard right from the tip-off.
After the Ram’s final regular season game, coach Hayes showed a good-spirited smile while giving a reflection of the season.
“I feel great and the team feels good. Now, we’re coming to an end and everyone’s healthy, the chemistry is really starting to pick up. Our sophomores have been great leaders and our freshman have done a really good job.”
The Rams have some players playing injured as Janis Peterson’s left knee and left thumb were both wrapped with athletic tape and Olivia Overtone-Mayorga had her left thumb taped against Skyline. But coach Hayes says the team is healthy, and both Peterson and Overtone-Mayorga said their injuries are not a problem.
The Rams play in the regional playoffs the week of Feb. 22. If they move on, they will play in the state tournament March 10-13 in Sacramento.