Last season the Wilcox Chargers varsity basketball squad finished their league season with a 1-11 record. Thus far through six De Anza League games this season, the Chargers are an impressive 4-2—good enough for second place behind only 6-0 Palo Alto. Tuesday night saw the Chargers win their fourth game of the league season in dominant fashion, cruising past Gunn, 72-36.
Despite currently playing their second-straight season without a single senior on the roster, three key returners from last season in sophomore Elise Corwin and juniors Anna Neeley and Ellen Collins are providing valuable leadership.
“They are great captains, great friends,” chimed Collins on teammates Corwin and Neeley. “They are very supportive of everyone. They can tell when someone is down and they bring them right back up.”
In the waning moments of Tuesday’s blowout, the Chargers bench erupted whenever reserve players scored buckets. Seeing teammates who don’t get as many minutes gain valuable experience indicates a squad full of friendships, not just teammates.
“Off the court, we are all really close,” noted Collins. “So when people who don’t play as much get out there and we see them have their success, it’s awesome.”
“This team has character, not characters,” remarked Chargers Head Coach Justin Fujihara. “They like to see their teammates succeed. Everybody got on the board tonight and that’s always really nice. We know these types of nights can be few and far between, so when these games do come around, the girls like to celebrate when their teammates who don’t usually get to play, knock down some shots, no matter the score.”
In addition to their victory over Gunn, the Chargers have also beaten both rival Santa Clara and Cupertino—the top two teams in the El Camino league last season. The Chargers’ other victory thus far came against Mountain View. Both Mountain View and Gunn were in the middle of the pack in the De Anza league last season. With their new found winning ways, the Chargers must be having a lot of fun.
“It’s not all fun and games, we work really hard at practice,” said Collins on how much fun the team is having compared to a year ago. “We are definitely taking last year’s disappointment and using it as motivation. It certainly feels a lot better after games this year for sure.”
“It’s great to see all their hard work start to pay off,” added coach Fujihara. “Not just throughout the course of this season, but in the past. Some of the kids we have had for multiple years now, they have been through the grinder, they are battle tested. Sometimes when you don’t win, you feel for them, because they always put in the energy and effort. But now it’s nice to see them get rewarded for all of the time they have put into growing their skills and becoming a stronger team.”
Collins, Neeley, and Corwin and the rest of the Chargers will look to improve to 5-2 when they play at Mountain View on Friday.