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Huskies, ‘Jackets eager for success
Hughson girls basketball
The Hughson High varsity girls basketball defense shows what they are capable of after holding Linden to just seven points in the first 10 minutes and 34 seconds of action on Tuesday from home (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Hughson and Hilmar high girls basketball squads are looking to top the successes their respective successes from last season.

Hughson brings back Tim May for his third season as the head coach, after having a winning year last season, while Hilmar welcomes in first year head coach and alumna Shelbi Peterson. 

Peterson is the third coach in the last four seasons for the Yellowjackets. 

“We like to take it one game at a time. We don’t set too lofty of a goal — playing good basketball and just take it one day at a time,” said May. “Our goal is to get better every day, but in the back of my mind, we have an understanding that we have the team and capabilities to compete for the TVL title and that is what we want to do.” 

“I have been a part of the program for eight years, and worked my way up from freshman…I grew up loving basketball and am excited to be coaching the girls,” said Peterson. 

Peterson (formerly Santos), was part of the last 20-plus win season for the Yellowjackets, which came in the 2008-2009 when Paul Willis was the head coach. 

Hilmar girls basketball
Sara Chavez of Hilmar High dribbles the ball down the court and into the paint during Tuesday’s pre-league contest against Pacheco High from home (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Since then the program has seen some rough seasons. 

“It is kind of hard to get girls out here…We didn’t have a freshman team for a three-year span prior to last year and we have one this year. I want to get girls to play and be out here and have fun,” said Peterson. 

During Peterson’s senior year, Hilmar went 24-4 overall for the year and 13-2 in league play, which earned them the TVL title. That was the last time the girls basketball program has won a league title. 

Hilmar finished second in the TVL in the 2016-2017 season after a 9-3 record. 

 “I really don’t have the highest expectations because I am still fairly new to this, so I still want to figure out what we need to work on from last year…I want to see improvements from last year and get better and have fun,” said Peterson. “End of the year I want us to run all the offenses and least get a record of .500, but most importantly that they are having a good time.” 

Coach May heads into his third year as the head coach for Hughson. 

Last year Hughson went 16-11 overall, besting their 12-11 record the previous year. 

They placed fourth in the TVL with a record of 6-6 and earned a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V playoffs, but fell to Union Mine in the first round, 47-22. 

Last year, they also ended the regular season on a high note, winning three of their last four games. 

Heading into Tuesday’s game, coach May and the Huskies had kicked off the year with a 3-0 start, and have won six of the last seven regular season games dating back to last year’s final four game stretch.

Hughson brings in a freshman standout on to varsity squad in Olivia Fiveash and should contribute alongside the deepest team May has seen. 

“I’ve got a great group of girls, 12 girls on varsity, and I feel I can count on all 12 at any point and that will make it extremely difficult for teams to compete with us,” said May. “I’ve got two seniors that played four years in the program and got a couple juniors played since sophomore year…We are fast, athletic, the girls have bought into the system and I am excited to make noise in the TVL. I know that Ripon and Livingston have tough teams but we are really looking forward to it.” 

The team is also expecting big things from the entire squad including Madi Coelho and Dakota Peters. 

The Yellowjackets of Hilmar come off a tough year where they went 6-22 overall for the season. 

It didn’t help that they won just a pair of TVL victories over the year, finishing in second to last place with a 2-10 record. They dropped their last five regular season games to end the season last year. 

This year, after their first two games played, the ‘Jackets are 0-2, but have seen progress. 

They graduated just four players from last year’s team that had eight underclassmen and bring back their senior leaders Olivia Machado and Victoria Chipponeri to lead a group of 14. 

The two sophomores on the Hilmar squad this year are Reece Labrouche and Jenna Gomes. 

Both Hilmar and Hughson will be chasing the likes of Escalon, Ripon, Ripon Christian and Livingston. Livingston won the TVL last year with an 11-1 record, while and Ripon followed at 10-2. RC took third at 8-4.