Girls join in summer hoops fun

June 29, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

Since local high schools have joined the San Diego Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, their athletic programs have needed to find ways to keep up with the active off-season programs of San Diego-area schools.

The girls basketball programs of Imperial Valley schools have started summer league play to keep in shape and sharpen skills that will be priceless when they take on bigger schools on the other side of the mountain.

Calipatria and Southwest high schools played a summer exhibition in Calipatria on Wednesday as part of the summer league series of Imperial Valley League girls basketball.

The Hornets, who have already played several games, topped the Eagles 33-22.

Calipatria coach Les Boop said summer games are good confidence-builders and he feels more ready to take on the season with girls who have summer playing experience.


"We're no longer intimidated," Boop said.

He said it feels good to walk into the gyms of bigger schools such as Brawley and be able to compete with confidence.

He said he thinks Brawley will be the team to beat in the upcoming season and summer play will help his girls be ready to take on the Wildcats and others throughout the IVL and CIF San Diego Section.

Boop said the Calipatria girls team has never faced Southwest or Calexico in the regular season and summer play will help against those and others as Calipatria will join the IVL this season.

"They have a lot of talent and a whole lot to pick and choose from," Boop said of Southwest, whose girls greatly outnumbered the Hornet team.

He said the numbers factor aided the Eagles in the second half when they outscored Calipatria by 11 points.

"The more we got tired and sloppy, the more Southwest scored," Boop said.

He added he was a little disappointed to see his team give up 18 points in the second half.

"I just wish that I had the number of kids that he does," Boop said of Southwest coach Ruben Valenzuela.

Valenzuela said he was happy with what his team showcased in the second half of Southwest's first summer contest. He added he has been enjoying practice and he feels the girls are strongly being helped by the summer work.

"I think it's helping them quite a bit," Valenzuela said. "I'm enjoying it very much and so are the girls."

"Everybody will be able to learn what the other team has," Valenzuela said of summer league. "That's going to make the league more competitive."

He said he wished that Central Union and Holtville high schools could compete in the summer league because those schools are missing a great opportunity. Central is not playing because they don't have a coach, while the Vikings' coach Jim Sturgeon is preparing for football season.

Loyal Frazier, an assistant coach at Southwest, said summer play can help the girls greatly.

"Our girls just need to learn how to be focused," Frazier said. "We're not going to beat teams by showing up."

He said the Eagles had a height disadvantage against the Hornets, but when they showed more effort in the second half, they found out they could compete.

Frazier said the summer league is a valuable opportunity and he is certain all the girls will improve.

"If we don't have (summer league) we can't compete with anyone in San Diego," Frazier said.

He said half the battle is to get girls to come to summer practices. He added he thinks this year's turnout is "awesome."

Exhibitions will continue throughout the summer and most teams will play each other twice.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles