JV girls basketball settles in with new head coach

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Rintaro Sato

Newly-appointed varsity head coach Richard Stephens watches a drill alongside players

With the appointment of numerous new coaches, including new varsity head coach Richard Stephens, JV girls basketball looks to start the season on a bright note. Stephens finished overseeing the intense pre-season and tryouts, and the JV girls basketball team is beginning to get acquainted with the new coaching staff.

Stephens was hired as a basketball coach with around 30 years of coaching experience to replace the longtime varsity head coach Dan Mori after last year’s COVID-19 shortened season. Making up for the shortened previous season is a challenge that Stephens identified as something he will emphasize over the course of this season.

“What we want to do is get back to the whole culture of practicing, playing hard, getting into practicing five to six days a week, kind of relearning the sport,” Stephens said. “Freshman, they didn’t play at all last year, and the [current] sophomores and juniors could only play four to six games last year with hardly any practice.”

The emphasis on making up for lost time is evident in the practice schedule for the Scots, with six full JV and varsity joint practices, each for two hours scheduled throughout the season. During the two hours, Stephens would move between varsity and JV, providing drills and advice for both teams during the intense practices.

However, this intensity is seen as a great difference-maker for players such as junior guard Misha Zhou, who appreciates this physically and mentally demanding practice schedule.

“[Stephens] definitely pushes us a lot and makes us work hard, but that’ll make us play better during our games,” Zhou said.

He pushes us really hard and he wants us to remember a lot of things but it’s all super important for sure.”

— Cyan Yee

Players are not the only ones praising Stephens, as assistant JV coach Hari Kurup also had some positive feedback on the new head coach.

“I think he’s great, he’s very thorough in his knowledge of the game, he’s been coaching for 30 years, and I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Kurup.

In the shortened season last year, the JV girls basketball team enjoyed success with their record, but the Scots do not plan on letting their guard down anytime soon.

“I think things are going to be very different than they were last year because we’re going to have a full 24 game season this year, and other schools will be back in it playing hard,” said sophomore point guard Dana Boudreau.

The first games for JV girls basketball are scheduled to be in the upcoming weeks, and the limits for this new group of players and coaches are endless.