Western Sierra sports continues making strides
It did not take long for Western Sierra Collegiate Academy to reach Division V in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and along with that growth athletics began to rival the school’s reputation in academics.
Closing out 2017 before Christmas break, the Wolves defeated San Juan Wednesday and Golden Sierra Thursday.
Against San Juan, Western Sierra defeated the Spartans 10-0. That allowed Wolves’ co-head coaches Gabriella Crosson and Scott Crosson to give all their players time on the pitch at Mahany Park in Roseville. Although 10 Western Sierra players are juniors and seniors, the club carries four sophomores and four freshmen.
“This team is really playing well together,” said Scott Crosson, referencing his mix of underclassmen. “You don’t want to affect it too much where you’re breaking up that synergy. What I love about this team, though, is a commitment to practice and a commitment to being in shape this preseason. Our drop off is minimal, if at all.”
Western Sierra then traveled to Golden Sierra, where they shut out the Grizzlies 5-0.
Scoring for the Wolves against San Juan: Paige Carter (3), Izzy James (3), Michaela Bodie (2), Kylie Nguyen and Annika Sybersma; assists were provided by Allie Seaton (2), Brianna Wood (2), Carina Lim, Rachel Sachs, Bodie and James.
Scoring against Golden Sierra: Wood (2), Kailee Truong, Sybersma and James; assists: Hannah Wolthuis (2), Abby Griswold, Maddy Bustos and Truong.
Goalkeeper Lindsay Lucas had seven saves in the two contests and Melanie Crow one.
The academy’s only loss was to Division III El Dorado and the club has not played against a team below D-5 this preseason.
Also willing to take on the higher division teams, the Wolves dismantled Mesa Verde 52-15 Thursday on the WSCA home floor. The team improved to 11-3 this preseason and will begin Northern Pacific Athletic Conference play Jan. 5.
Sophomore Lizzie Souza scored 23 in the contest, hitting 60 percent of her shots from the floor. Brenna Mellish and Karisia Cicero combined to add 20 points to Western Sierra’s point totals.
“I had a goal for 20 wins this season, 20-plus, and I think we’re on target,” said WSCA head coach Jason Treanor. “If we play the way we did tonight, we can run the table. When they play as a team they do well; when they try to do too much they get into trouble.”
The Wolves open NPAC play Jan. 5 at Trinity Prep in Napa.
Although new head coach Jake Simms does not have any freshmen on his squad, he does have four sophomores, along with four seniors and five juniors.
Thursday, the Wolves got off to a slow start, but battled back from a 23-10 first quarter deficit to trail 36-28 at the half. But the academy could get no closer and eventually fell 72-61.
Simms said the toughest thing for him in taking over the boys basketball program was building a culture of expecting to win.
“They’re looking at the opponent and too many are afraid, and we’re still working on that,” Simms said. “(Our team) understanding that we want to win, but understanding what it takes to win; all five guys working together on offense and on defense.”
Simms played sports at Chester, a small high school in Plumas County, where everyone turned out to watch the games. It is something he hopes catches on at Western Sierra.
“I think we’re really playing a fun brand of basketball and I think people would really enjoy it if they came out and watched us,” Simms said. “I would like to pack the gym and get community support.”
The Wolves’ Sandeep Kahlon scored 29 points in the game.
WSCA will also open NPAC play at Trinity Prep Jan. 5.