Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After turning a corner in the second half of last season and winning a game in the region tournament, the Fernley High School girls basketball team hopes to start off this season like they left off last year.
The Vaqueros open the season at 3 p.m. today against Incline in the High Sierra Winter Classic at Spanish Springs.
The Vaqueros return seven players from last season, including all five starters and four of last year’s top five scorers.
“We have a lot of experienced girls coming back, so that makes the start of the season a lot easier than last year,” said second-year head coach John Rogers. “Based on where we started last year, we’re 10 times better.”
The Vaqueros have six seniors on the roster, but are dealing with a couple of injuries early in practice and have brought up two players from the JV team to fill in until everyone is set to go.
One of the injured players is last year’s leading scorer Hailee Edgar, a junior who scored 8.3 points per game last season. Edgar had a cyst removed from her wrist near the end of the volleyball season, and Rogers said she’s steal dealing with some discomfort.
The Vaqueros also return seniors Grace DeLeon, who was last year’s second leading scorer at 7.0 points per game, and Taylor Richardson, who scored 5.3 points per game last season. Senior Brooke Chapin scored 3.9 points per game last season, while sophomore Brittney Gaitan also scored. 3.9 per game.
The Vaqueros don’t have much size, but have good quickness, Rogers said.
“Defense is our strong point by far, it’s wat we relied on last year,” he said. “Offensively I think it will come around, but it’s all based on execution. We have the majority of our scoring returning, and we worked all offseason about getting more points and putting the ball in the hole.”
“We’re very optimistic, but it’s way too early in the season to know where we stand,” Rogers said.
To that end, Rogers said this weekend’s tournament will be a good gauge.
“We’re going to look for execution and assess the mistakes we’re making and why,” Rogers said. “I look forward to seeing how we play together and what adjustments they make playing together and on their own for the benefit of the team.”
After qualifying for the regional tournament last year, then beating Spring Creek in the first round, Rogers said the Vaqueros want to be considered among the better teams in the league.
“We want to compete with the big boys in our league,” he said. “Last year we had the attitude that they’re real good. This year we have the attitude that we’re pretty good and we can compete with them.”
Rogers expects Fallon and Lowry to be the teams to beat again and said south Tahoe should be much improved, and Spring Creek and Elko will be competitive
After facing Incline tonight, the Vaqueros will face Heritage (Littleton, Colo.) at 3 p.m. Friday and Atwater (Ca.) at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I don’t know anything about those teams, but I like to play teams we don’t see and don’t know,” Rogers said.