Varsity Girls Basketball
There are moments during a game, not often for most teams, that everything just gets into sync. Every play the coach calls works, the players on the floor are executing and hustling, and the substitutes on the bench are electric supporting and cheering on their teammates. That’s what head coach and athletics director Illi Armijos calls “The Perfect Storm.“
“It’s a coaches dream; you just sit back an enjoy watching the game unfold,” Coach Armijos said. The Varsity Girls Basketball team and Coach Armijos reached new heights for the GCS athletics program this season winning the Private School Athletic Association League title in a decisive victory.
The girls started the game scoring 18 points before their opponent got on the scoreboard. With that tremendous lead, the team never looked back. “In the league championship game, things just fell into place. We played just how we practiced.”
Following the impressive league title, the team advanced to the State Tournament a first for any athletic team in the nascent GCS athletic program. Just getting to the tournament wasn’t enough for this tenacious team. They won their first-round game, and narrowly missed advancing from their quarterfinal match-up.
The team’s impressive playoff run was preceded by a strong regular season that saw the team earn a 16-3 record playing against nationally ranked teams as well as the eventual state champions.
“We began the season focusing entirely on fundamentals, strength training and conditioning. The girls weren’t thrilled about it, but at the end of our games, especially the tough ones, it really showed,” coach Armijos said about the key to the successful season. “Every player on the team rose up to the challenge we laid out for them, and when we had big leads in the fourth quarter of a game, they would smile and really enjoy the game, which is what it’s all about.”
Half of the 11 girls on this year’s team have been playing for coach Armijos since 7th grade. “Everyone was basically a semi-beginner when they first started playing together. We had to start at square-one – with all of the basics of basketball,” coach Armijos said of her original team. Even still, the original team only lost one game during their 7th and 8th grade years.
As the school has grown, new players have joined the team and their success has continued to grow. “Some really talented girls have come to GCS and joined the team, which has helped us fill some gaps. We were a really complete team this year.”
The outlook for the next few seasons is bright for this talented group of student athletes. In the coming season, seniors will add a new strength and the rising underclassmen will mature with the team. One of these rising underclassmen, starting point guard and freshman, Angelika Rodriguez ’18 was named 1st Team All-Division. Standout guard, Ayanna Dublin ’16 was named MVP twice this year; once for the PSAA regular season and again for the playoffs.
In addition, coach Armijos was named PSAA Coach of the Year. “It’s such an honor to receive an award like this, but honestly, the best part is watching the girls come together and fight so hard for each other all season long.” From the look of it, conditions seem just right to keep the perfect storm going through next season.