Girls Basketball: New Coach, Same Success

The Berkeley High School (BHS) varsity girls basketball team is off to a fantastic season so far, with a record of 13-2 in the West Alameda County Conference. This impressive record puts the team fourth in Division I North Coast Section standings so far. Not only has the team put up an impressive record, they’ve won many of their games by wide margins. Their season started with a 73-28 win against Skyline High School, followed by a 65-27 win against Arroyo High School and a 58-14 win against Deer Valley. According to co-captain Eryn Taylor, “The Ladyjackets haven’t had a record like this in a long time.” Head Coach Michael Woolridge, better known as Coach Woo, said, “The season is going great on and off the court … we are more than a team. We are a family.”

For a team to garner this much success, they need to have impeccable chemistry. “We have to work together like a car,” Taylor explains.  “Cars have many inner functions that all have one goal, which is to get to your destination in one piece. If one of the inner pieces doesn’t work correctly, the car either breaks down or can’t function at all.” This metaphor means that if one element or teammate is off, the whole team suffers as a result. Luckily, the girls basketball team has so far had every inner piece work perfectly, accelerating the team towards more wins by the day.

Nigel Oliphant

While the team has had lots of success, they are still adjusting and making changes. “Last year we obtained a new coach,” Taylor said. “We had to learn his coaching style and how to work together as a team.” Coach Woo, in only his second year as head coach, has added a new element to the team and is a key attribute to the team’s success. “The girls now know what is expected,” Woo explained. “This year’s team is healthy and I was able to work with them in the spring and in the summer, which makes a big difference.”

The team has been working hard for months now, and it has been seen in their impressive record. Their first loss, which was against San Leandro High School, was a surprising moment for the Ladyjackets. San Leandro currently holds a 11-4 record. However, Taylor said, “As a team we realized we were letting this winning streak get in our heads and we needed a reality check.” Complacency is a common obstacle successful teams face, especially during a strong winning streak, and sometimes the only way to overcome it is with a frustrating loss similar to the game against San Leandro High School. However, the team is only going up from there and now understands, as Taylor puts it, “We have to be hungry to win the basketball game all the time.” This loss seems to have served as motivation for the team and will hopefully benefit the team in the end.

Nigel Oliphant

Coach Woo’s goal for the season is “to win 20 games or more, win the league, and advance to the playoffs.” Additionally, Coach Woo said he hopes to see all the seniors on the team graduate and move on to college. Taylor’s goals for the team, similarly, are to “cut down the net,” a basketball tradition done to celebrate winning a championship.  Taylor adds, “We want to make it to state and we will.” It is clear the team has big goals and high expectations, but it is also clear that the team is willing to put in the work to reach these goals.

The team will face off next against Mt. Eden High School on January 11 at BHS.

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