The Orange Lutheran girls basketball team is ready to get their hoops season underway next week, and while the Lancers closed out last season on a high note, nearly defeating a talented Brea-Olinda squad in a first round CIF Division 1 playoff matchup, both the players and coaches are approaching this season as a new start.
“It was a nice way to finish, feeling like we played our best game of the year,” says OLu head girls basketball coach, Tom Howard. “But we treat every year as a new situation. It’s a new group of players, with different levels of experience. We try not to use one year as a measuring stick against a current year.”
This year’s Lancer lineup boasts seven seniors, and the coaching staff will be challenging the members of this veteran-led group to step out of their comfort zones and into new roles and responsibilities. Four-year program participants Nicole Khanthaphixay, Megan Klein and Delaney Maguire, as well as senior Heather Park, will need to lead the way in both scoring and leadership.
“We need every girl, especially our seniors, to do their role,” says Howard. “We need everyone to help create the culture of who we want to be.”
That culture begins long before these players step onto the court, as they hold each other accountable on a daily basis during practice and in the weight room.
“We want to be as competitive as we can be, not just when we take the court, but in our preparation as well,” says Howard, “so we can play and conduct ourselves with pride.”by Jenelyn Cunningham Russo '88