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Brawley girls basketball camp: A breeding ground for the next generation

July 15, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — Brawley Union High School girls basketball coach Mike Pacheco has seen the future of his team and he's seen it in double vision.

The players Pacheco feels could be the focal point of his team in a few years are 13-year-old eighth-grade twin sisters Rachel and Peri Serino.

The sisters were working out in Brawley's annual girls basketball camp along with other girls in grades kindergarten through eighth.

While there are a handful of girls in the camp who have caught Pacheco's eye, it's the 5-foot-8 Serino sisters he feels have something special.

"I've been coaching on the varsity level for 15 years now and I haven't seen too many girls with that combination of size, agility, skill and just all-around ability this early in their careers," said Pacheco. "I really believe that they're two kids who you can build a team around.


"One of the toughest things to teach a player is aggressiveness. But they already have that in them. They don't like to lose and they're very competitive," Pacheco said. "You can say that they're still kind of raw and need some more work, but I think they'll continue to improve and could possibly help us on the varsity level in the future."

Having freshmen rack up varsity minutes is nothing new to Pacheco. While most varsity coaches stay away from letting younger, inexperienced players play at the top high school level, he promotes it. He said the sooner a young player can make their way onto the varsity squad, the better prepared they'll be down the road.

Over the past few years two of the Imperial Valley's best basketball players — Lisa LeBaron and Melissa Mata — have come from Brawley and made significant varsity contributions as freshmen. Both eventually earned Imperial Valley League player of the year honors.

Pacheco's most recent freshman phenom was Reggie Horta, who during the 2000-01 season was the third scoring option for the Wildcats.

Whether or not the Serino sisters can make as immediate an impact on Pacheco's squad as their predecessors did remains to be seen. But if there's anything working for them it's their will and drive to make the team.

"Along with coming out to this camp, we've been working out with their freshman and junior varsity teams," said Rachel Serino. "We're doing that to learn more and just get better, so when we get into high school we'll know what to expect."

Added Peri Serino: "I think it'd be cool if we made varsity all four years in high school. Making varsity has been our goal since last year. It would almost be a disappointment if we didn't make varsity our freshman years, but we're going to continue to try hard and do our best. It really doesn't matter what position they'd want us to play, just as long as we get to play."

Another future prospect Pacheco has his eyes on is 12-year-old seventh-grader Annie Mohamed. While at the camp, Mohamed demonstrated some of the best ball-handling skills of the group, which would make her a perfect fit as a future point guard. She's been playing since third grade and her experience will give her an edge over her competition.

It's players like Mohamed and the Serino sisters, who have attended Brawley's basketball camp regularly, that Pacheco feels will shape the future of his squad and keep its winning tradition intact.

"I think it's very important for these girls to come out here and get the experience and learn the different skills we teach," said Pacheco. "When we get these younger girls out there on our team I never look at it as rebuilding, it's just more like reloading."

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