Head coach Annie Yee guided the San Marino High School girls’ basketball team to the quarterfinals last year, a feat the program had not achieved in nearly two decades.
Despite losing nine members of that team to graduation, Yee is hopeful this year’s young group will keep that memorable moment in the back of their minds.
“It was a great experience,” Yee said. “The girls enjoyed themselves, as well as the community and parents. It’s something I want to build upon. This year, we’re starting off young, and I want the younger girls to think that we can get back to where we were last year. I want to continue the success of the program. I don’t want to wait another 17 years. Making the playoffs is always a goal.”
In order for this squad to get back to the postseason, the players will need to continue to improve and remain consistent. Yee has five seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen on the team, making it one of her youngest groups yet.
Kyli Bonavich is a seasoned 5-9 forward who is expected to contribute under the basket, and Angelina Karapetyan is another senior who has stepped up.
“Angelina hustles and boxes out,” Yee said. “She does all the little things that a coach wants. She is one of my senior leaders.”
Yee hopes the leaders continue to set the tone and establish much-needed consistency. The Titans opened the season with a 48-31 loss at Westridge and later fell to Pasadena Poly, 36-33, in overtime. Despite the loss, Yee was proud of her team’s effort against the Panthers. However, the team regressed in the first game of the SMHS Tournament and fell to visiting Montebello, 57-24, on Monday.
“Losses don’t upset me,” Yee said. “It’s minor details and trying to improve every game, playing without fear and being more aggressive. We came out stronger in our second game and lost by three. [On Monday], we made minor mistakes and
forgot the game plan. We have to continue to improve and celebrate the little achievements.”
Growing pains are expected with a young team, and Yee is optimistic that the group will find its identity.
“They’re young, and for many of them, this is their first varsity experience,” Yee said. “Chloe Wong is sophomore who has been playing well. She had a double-double against Poly and aggressive on Monday. [Sophomore] Kinu Takasugi is taking a lot more shots and trying to knock them in. I’m just glad she’s aggressive and trying to shoot more. I expect [junior] Audrey Lin to get better, and our freshman Elaina Lee is a spark plug who plays with no fear. We need all of them to be aggressive.”
San Marino (0-3 overall record) will continue to play in its tournament this week. The Titans will host San Gabriel Mission on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m.