Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tustin girls basketball team out to defend Empire League title

Caylee HermansonAlyssa NoradaSabrina ThornShow Caption of Expand
Tustin’s girls basketball team is out to defend its Empire League title under Coach Claire Gocke.
The Tillers return just one starter from last year’s team that was 25-4 overall and 9-1 in the Empire League.
“The Empire League is tough every year,” Gocke said. “Teams are pretty evenly matched and it always seems like it could go to anyone each year.”
Tustin, off to a 3-1 start this year, has built a winning reputation.
“We’ve won league two out of the last three seasons, last season winning outright,” Gocke said. “Our returners have a taste of what that success is like and are definitely striving towards that.
“Our goal is to play this season one game at a time, and to not get too far ahead of ourselves. Tournament time is the best part of the year because you really get to see what your kids are capable of and what needs to be drilled into them a little harder at practice.”
Tustin’s starters include junior Caylee Hermanson, freshman Alyssa Norada, freshman Zoey Barajas, junior Caroline Ek and senior Sabrina Thorn.
Hermanson, who averaged 12 points a game last year, is the only returning starter from last year’s team, Gocke said.
“She has worked extremely hard in the off season on a number of different aspects of her game,” Gocke said. “She is truly a multidimensional player.”
Gocke is also impressed with the other starters.
“Sabrina has earned her way into the starting lineup as a senior,” Gocke said. “She has a solid outside shot. Her defense has improved over the first four games.  We are looking to her for some solid senior leadership out on the floor.
“Caroline is a quick defender who can guard in the full court and wear the opponent down. She has a solid shot and is extremely scrappy on the glass.
“Alyssa and Zoey are two freshmen in the starting lineup who bring strong guard play and smart offense.”
Gocke hopes the Tillers will continue to be competitive.
“We are hoping to compete in every game and to emphasize that this doesn’t have to be a rebuilding year just because we graduated six seniors,” she said. “We have a lot of the pieces that contribute to success; we just need to continue putting them together consistently.”
Tustin opened the Corona del Mar Tournament with a 75-53 loss to Dana Hills before winning its next three.
“They are a solid team with a lot of different scoring options,” Gocke said. “We bounced back after that and won our next three, defeating Newport Harbor (62-32) Laguna Hills (53-39) and Sage Hill.
“We are doing a great job sharing the ball and working on our inside/outside game.  The team is starting to mesh well together and buy in to the ‘family’ approach.
Source: Oc Register

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *