Denair and Delhi High have never really established their varsity girls basketball programs, but after an offseason of quality hires, things look to be shaping up for both programs.
After a down year for Delhi last season, a team that won only one contest all year and accumulated a 0-12 league record, new head coach Jerry Reyes looks to make improvements.
“The transition has been good because I coached a lot of the girls so I know them kind of well already,” said Reyes. “The girls are very confident as far as the team goes, and they know they have talent which was underutilized in previous year but I hope to instill that motivation factor.”
It won't be the easiest task for a struggling Hawks program that has gone 0-40 in the SAL over the last three seasons. The last league win for the Hawks was on Feb. 2, 2012.
The team's sole senior, Sydney Nightengale, will also be looking to end her high school career on a high note.
“I don't want her to go out as recent seniors have so I am hoping for a good year,” said Reyes. “We are looking to make it memorable for them and my goal is to at least get to third place in league, playoffs or something.”
Denair will welcome former Modesto Christian basketball standout as well as a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumna Taryn Garza as head coach.
“I have some experience in basketball so I am happy that I get to teach these girls everything I know,” said Garza who played basketball at the Division-I (AA) program in Cal Poly.
Garza is also an aspiring coach in the making since she hopes to make a career out of it, not just a one year thing.
“I want to coach and I want to teach so I am in the works of starting all of that right now,” said Garza. “This is really a grand opportunity for me because I really hope to teach these young athletes what has helped me.”
During her time at Cal Poly, Garza learned the process of positivity —something that has really helped she said.
“I have a lot of things to work on but at Cal Poly our coach had a great philosophy of having a positive attitude and always working hard,” said Garza. “So, I am trying to translate that to them and my coaching style as well.”
However, last year wasn't the worse for the Coyotes of Denair who went 3-9 in the SAL and 7-14 overall.
“The girls are all new to me so it’s a learning process for both me and the girls but they are already working very hard,” said Garza. “We have to never give up and always be positive and working every day harder than our opponents and having that is on the court and off.”
Garza will have Katie Oliver, Katie Hernandez and Destiny Silva at her disposal, all three of which return from a year ago to hopefully have a smoother year.
“I want them to learn and work on fundamentals and teaching them the game of basketball and I want to run plays and proper rotations and I want them to have a great experience as well,” Garza added.
Denair will first travel on the road to take on the Hilmar Yellowjackets at 7 p.m. Dec. 7.
The first game for Delhi will be at home against West High at 5 p.m. Dec. 10.
“I am hoping we can just move and forget last year because these girls are confident and they are happy and want to show everyone that they are not as bad as everyone thinks they are,” Reyes added.