“I get told a lot, ‘you guys have a bright future’ and we do, we have a young team and our future is bright, but when you’re in the position that I’m at, you see the potential and want to get that potential out right now,” remarked Chargers Head Coach Justin Fujihara after his Chargers defeated Gunn 65-30 on Tuesday night. “I want us to be successful now so we can maximize the time we have with this group where we can be successful. We’re young, our future is bright, but we want to win now.”
Coach Fujihara and his varsity squad are happy to hear people talk about their future, but they rightfully feel they deserve more credit for their present. With the win against Gunn, the Chargers are now an impressive 8-3 on the season, their second season in a row without a single senior on their roster. Despite that fact, they are currently in second place in the De Anza League, behind only undefeated Palo Alto and ahead of really strong teams from last year in Cupertino and Santa Clara.
“I’m extremely proud of this group,” added coach Fujihara. “Sometimes I forget how young we actually are.”
The young squad is led by captains Anna Neeley and Elise Corwin. Neeley, a junior, is one of the older girls on the team, but she sat out the game against Gunn as she nursed an ankle injury. In her absence it was Corwin, a sophomore, who stepped up the way good captains generally do in these situations. Corwin nailed five three-point shots and finished the game with a remarkable 25 points, most of which came over the first three quarters.
“Elise reads plays really well,” noted freshman Hali’a Lee. “We talk in the locker room about people stepping up, and she helped the team out big time tonight.”
“Elise was great tonight and that’s how it is, I expected nothing less from her,” chimed coach Fujihara on his star point guard. “We have 11 on our roster and if one player is out or two players, we have to continue playing like we have a full roster and everyone stepped up tonight. Elise in particular knew at certain points she would have to be extra aggressive tonight and she delivered a big game for us.”
With Wilcox leading comfortably throughout most of the game, the Chargers were able to get a number of their bench players extra minutes. One in particular is junior forward Erin Harvie who always seems to get the loudest cheers from her teammates when she gets into the action and lays in a bucket.
“Harvie sets the standard of a real team player, someone you want to have on your team,” remarked coach Fujihara. “She’s been with the program for a few years now and still comes to practice everyday with maximum effort. She never complains [about playing time], but she’s always prepared. She knows to be prepared for her opportunities when they come around and that’s what you want. Even when she’s not on the floor she’s always into the game. She sets an amazing example for all of our players.”
Wilcox will look to close out their league season at 9-3 when they host Los Gatos in the season finale on Friday, Feb. 16 before starting their preparations for the CCS playoffs.