By Riley Segal
The girls’ basketball team is faced with a challenge this upcoming season: to meet, if not exceed, last year’s success. Previously, the Tigers went 24-3 overall, including an undefeated record in league play, broke numerous school records, and reached CIF playoffs and state semifinals.
The team will have to overcome the challenges ahead without five key seniors who were lost to graduation. However, the Tigers look to find success in fresh young players such as freshmen Lauren Kafkaloff and Kayla Zhang, and sophomores Tiffany Holmes and Kiana Reynolds. The two returning players, senior Kristen Kafkaloff and junior Jalynne Li, are expected to lead South Pas to be one of the top competitors in Rio Hondo.
“We’ll have to overcome the fact that we haven’t really played together very much as there are only two returners, but I know that everyone’s ready to put in the work necessary to maximize our skills,” Kristen Kafkaloff said.
The varsity squad is confident that coach Tammy Lai will continue to lead the team to a promising season. Lai has coached the girls’ varsity team for 5 years, and brought the Tigers to a league title for the first time since 1999.
“Coach Lai always pushes us to be the best we can be, no matter what position we’re in,” Holmes said. “She’s really what holds us together.”
For the past few months, the Tigers have been through rigorous practices, and have competed in a fall league to prepare for their upcoming season. Through the arduous training, players discovered some of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and they worked together to improve as a team.
“We’re working as hard as we can to rebuild and we really want to show everyone what we can do,” Holmes said.
The squad will be one to watch as it’s determined to rise to the number one spot in Rio Hondo again this year. The Tigers’ season kicks off at home against Bassett High School on December 2, at 5:15 p.m.