Basketball: Anzar girls build for the future

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Anzar’s Christina Muirhead works on a dribbling exercise during practice last week. Anzar has started the season with a 2-10 record. Muirhead, a junior, is one of the team’s oldest players.

The new season has been everything but kind for the Anzar girls basketball team. Because of injuries, graduation or other issues, the squad – which is down to just seven players – is starting three freshmen and one sophomore.
On top of that, in December head coach Steve Duran resigned to tend to personal issues, leaving last year’s head coach – and Anzar athletic director – Sam Stewart in charge of the team.
All of this has led to a 2-10 overall record and a struggling offense that averages less than 20 points per game. Despite the limited amount of success so far this year, the Hawks have high hopes for the future as the team slowly builds.
“We are a really young team,” Stewart said. “When the freshmen are seniors and juniors we are going to have a lot of success.”
For now, that seems like a long time away.
In Anzar’s final game of the non-league schedule Thursday, the Hawks showed exactly what type of promise they hold, while showing how much further they have to go. At its surface, the Hawks 57-28 loss to Carmel seems like a blowout, but after the first quarter, the Hawks held a lead.
Behind freshman Lynette Weckerle, who scored seven of her 10 points in the first quarter, the Hawks raced off to a surprising 12-7 lead over Carmel.
“That was great,” Stewart said. “It was awesome. I didn’t expect us – I didn’t expect us to get a lead in the first quarter. That was awesome. The girls started to believe a little bit … right? We got a shot in this one, don’t we? That was cool, That was great to see.”
The Hawks jumped on the defending Mission Trail champs, climbing to an eight-point lead.
Guard Weckerle controlled the Anzar offense. Using her small stature and superior athleticism, Weckerle wove through the Carmel defense to find open looks – draining three of her four shots.
Delaney McKinney added two more points and Jacqueline Quaresma added three in the Hawks’ first-quarter.
But afterward, the Hawks resorted back to their season-long struggles on the offensive end.
Carmel scored 50 points in the final three quarters to pull away and blow out the Hawks, as Anzar could only muster 16 points in the final three quarters. To take the lead, Carmel started to put more pressure on the Hawks, forcing them to dribble more.
“They started out on a zone defense on us, and we do a good job against a zone,” Stewart said. “We get to practice against it more because we have a small roster. So we did a really good job. That’s a really good team and once they went man to man – we just need some practice.
Stewart continued, “We are really young so we’ll get better.”
Anzar finished the game with Weckerle and freshman Leslie Martinez each scoring 10 points. It was only the sixth time in 12 games the Hawks scored more than 20 points.
“It’s great,” Stewart said. “We shot the ball really well today. So far this year, we haven’t shot well at all. We shot the ball way better today. When we shoot well we do really good.”
The loss, though, proves the team is still a far away from competing.
“We have the ability, we just don’t have … we don’t have the refined skills yet,” Stewart said. “A lot of it is mental. We see pressure in our face and we kind of do this … and turn away. We haven’t quite figured it out. We’ll get there. We just need practice, but we’ll get there.”
Anzar hosts Marina at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the season’s first league game.

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