The Wilcox varsity basketball team is going through a bit of a transition this season. With numerous key seniors from last year’s CCS playoff team having graduated, and underclassmen twin sisters transferring to another school, the Chargers are going through a similar growth period to that of the local NBA team, the Golden State Warriors.
Overcoming departures of key players and injuries to top players have made winning a tough task for Wilcox. On Tuesday, the Chargers lost to the Los Altos Eagles by a final score of 54-40, dropping their overall record to 2-13. Despite the loss, the development of key players was on full display. Two in particular, freshman Ilaisa Dela Rosa and junior Arshprit Kaur, shined early in this game as Wilcox actually carried a 29-26 lead into halftime.
One of the biggest performances of the night belonged to Kaur as the junior led the way with a double-double outing, going for 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“As soon as the season ended her freshman year, she was just in the gym nonstop,” said Chargers’ Head Coach Justin Fujihara on Kaur’s dedication to improving her game. “Every opportunity she could get to work on her game, she took it.
“It’s nice that we are starting to see some of that carry over here in her junior year,” coach Fujihara continued. “She was a definite presence inside today. Once we got the ball inside to her, she was able to make plays and get to the foul line. And she hits those boards really, really hard.”
“She’s a great teammate, she’s really strong and she doesn’t lose her head. She’s very calm down there in the paint so we can rely on her a lot,” added fellow junior Olivia Corwin on Kaur. “She does get a lot of our boards and finishes for us too.”
With Kaur on the inside, the Chargers have a nice balance with Dela Rosa providing an outside shooting presence. But the freshman certainly isn’t afraid to attack inside the lane herself. Despite her smaller stature, Dela Rosa earned a tough inside layup, drawing the foul and nailing the free throw for a three-point play early in the first quarter.
“She’s had to learn through trial and error and making mistakes [as a young player], but it’s built up to a point where she feels confident to lift a shot from the perimeter and attack the paint to get paint touches and draw contact,” said coach Fujihara. “She’s definitely getting smarter, she’s very dialed in and enthusiastic about getting better.
With Dela Rosa and Kaur leading the way, it looked like the Chargers were poised to have a chance at their third win of the season. Unfortunately for Wilcox fans, the Eagles came out and drained four-straight three pointers to start the second half, turning the score around in a flash.
“Those players got hot and they got in that little stretch there that whatever they put up was going in,” admitted coach Fujihara. “It’s really, really difficult for us to stay on our game plan when everyone on the other side is knocking down shots. But it just shows us that we need to tighten up a little bit and realize that all five players on the floor are capable of scoring.”
Wilcox will host Cupertino on Friday, Jan. 10 as they look to bounce back and get earn their first league win of the season.