The Sierra girls’ basketball team has some unfinished business.
After getting knocked out of last year’s Class 4A playoffs just before the semifinals, the Stallions returned hungry for another run.
And after losing just one starter to graduation, Sierra’s core group entered the 2018-19 season more experienced and ready for the challenge ahead.
“The core was motivated, and we have goals to do things that no Sierra girls’ team has ever done, and that’s get to the Final Four,” Sierra coach Joseph Williams said. “And we would love to join the boys, who got four gold balls.
“To get that far last year, the girls know what it takes to get it done. So now it’s time to just put the pieces together and take it one game at a time.”
Sierra’s key loss was Aubrey Robinson, who averaged 16.4 points per game and 21.75 ppg through the playoffs. Although Robinson played a huge part in last year’s success, junior point guard D’nae Wilson said she has seen the entire lineup step up to make up for Robinson’s absence.
“Everybody needed to pick up their game and I’ve seen scoring averages grow in everybody this year,” Wilson said. “We have all picked up the slack and now everybody collectively is scoring more.”
On Wednesday the Stallions claimed a comfortable 54-34 4A CSML victory over The Classical Academy, boasting a more balanced lineup. Jasmine Monroe-Shivers led Sierra with 14 points, followed by Azaria Lacour with 13 and Wilson with 11. Gyani Sami nearly scored in double figures with eight points.
The Stallions went on a 14-1 run in the first quarter, and held a 14-point lead at halftime.
“We just need to keep the intensity up,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of players who are coming up and playing a bigger role so all around our team is growing. We have a good enough core and base to keep winning games.”
Heading into Wednesday’s game, Sierra was fresh off a loss to Mesa Ridge, which snapped a five-game winning streak. Williams said the loss was a tough one for his team, so they walked into the Titans' gym with a chip on their shoulders.
“This was a good bounce-back win,” Williams said. “They just came out wanting to take it one game at a time and stay healthy to get us to the playoffs.”
TCA had eight players score in the loss, led by Autumn Boyles with nine points. Kaitlin Walkers and Maddie Ivan followed with six each.