Expectations are high for Lady Zebras this season

Putting the past behind them
By: Joshua Gutierrez/Lincoln News Messenger
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The Lincoln High School varsity girls basketball team will enter the 2012-13 season with the momentum of last year’s strong finish.

Expectations are high for a team that has increased its roster depth. With battles for nearly every position, the quality of the bench serves to be a focal point in the team’s success.

To the benefit of third-year head coach Dan Hicks, each player who is not starting is only a couple of steps away from taking away that position from the starter. Compared to last year, the coaching staff will have the versatility that comes with having a deep roster.

 The Lady Zebras return three seniors in Megan Flores, Kali Federwisch, and Cassandra Jaimes.

With a couple of years under Hick’s coaching, the three seniors are expected to flourish with the experience.

The trio will be called upon to maintain the level of play the coaching staff said was the “best basketball they played all season,” at the conclusion of last year.

To further emphasize the level of basketball played by last year’s team, Hicks put considerable emphasis on winning. He did this despite the absence of then-junior Jaimes, who sat out the last couple of games due to injury.

With Jaimes back in the lineup, the forward spoke about the direction the team was headed in the days before the start of the season.

“We have the potential to go really far,” said Jaimes. “It’s a matter of how much we want it.”

Federwisch and Flores spoke about the expectations the team had for the upcoming season. Both seniors did not shy away from the trepidations that come with hard work and sacrifice, all in an effort to win games.

Sophomore Taylor Galli will orchestrate the offense as the starting point guard for the Zebras. Despite her age, the coaching staff has given the skilled athlete the opportunity to lead the Zebras.

A couple of years prior, the goal the coaching staff set for this senior class was to return Lincoln to the playoffs. The Zebras’ absence in the postseason is one thing Hicks and company are deeply involved in changing.

According to Sac-Joaquin Section rules, a 15-win season guarantees a first- round playoff game.

The road to winning 15 games begins Dec. 4 at home against Sutter. After a handful of non-league games, the Zebras will begin Pioneer Valley League competition Jan. 9 at home against Center.

Once again, Hicks expects the PVL to retain its reputation as a highly competitive league. Colfax, Bear River and Foothill each won at least seven games in league play last season.

Both the Bruins and Falcons went on to represent the PVL with semifinal appearances in last year’s Division IV playoffs.

Hicks made mention that at one point Lincoln was the, “one team that people wanted to see.” His reference was to prior seasons of not meeting expectations. But this time the coach responded positively as the sounds on the court bustled with optimism.

“I don’t believe that’s the case today,” said Hicks. “Every single game is a winnable game. But we’re going to have to play well to win any game.”