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Young squad ready to bounce back
Hilmar girls seek to build on last years playoff run
Cookie Cruz of Hilmar High School attempts a shot against Denair High School on Wednesday in Hilmar. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Joural

To start things off this year, the Hilmar High girls’ basketball team are 2-0 after posting an 18-9 overall stint along with a 5-7 Trans Valley League outing last season.

The lady ‘Jackets managed to capture a playoff berth and defeated Mariposa, 61-59 in the first round, however, stumbled across a top tier team number one seeded Bear River, who handled them 63-31.

“I thought last year we played well overall losing to that very strong and solid team in Bear River,” Hilmar head coach Don Inman said. “Last year we were a much stronger offense but this year we want to bring the defense in line with the offense.”

Inman knows what is needed to do, but the loss of two seniors that contributed majorly in points and rebounds, he will have his hands full.

“We got our entire backcourt back, our starting guards and small forward coming back,” Inman said. “Our team has potential, but we have to work hard and bring our game every night.”

This year the squad is very young and stacked with a large number of juniors who all have made progress.

“We have made good progress but still need to work hard,” Inman said. “We got to make up a lot of points and rebounds this year but I have been happy with this group because they are working really hard to trying to overcome this and be competitive and there practices have been awesome.”

Three year varsity star and junior, Kinsey Pettigrew returns as the starting point guard who is great with the ball and can shoot from anywhere along with the majority of the team working mostly off her.

The two Dominique — Dominique Miranda and Dominique Cozzitorto will be huge assets along with the late addition of senior volleyball star — Val Ewing.

“Val changes momentum when she’s out on the court. She plays guard and is a difference maker and she started all of last year,” Inman said. “She changes the dynamics when she is on the court. She is a tough player and always brings her ‘A’ game.”

Competing in the TVL will make a repeat even that much more difficult as Inman believes to be part of one of the toughest leagues in the Central Valley.

“I believe the TVL is one of the tougher leagues in the area, up and down there’s battles every night. I think every night is going to be very tough,” Inman said. “It’s such a competitive league anyone can knock off each other.”

On Wednesday the ‘Jackets posted up their second win after dominating a smaller Denair team 46-8.

Pettigrew finished the day with 11 points while Rebecca Sanders had 10. Ewing, in her first game back had 6, getting right back into the swing of things.

Hilmar will travel to Pitman as they take on the Pride at 7:15 Monday.