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December 7, 2022

Gilroy looks to new coach for leadership

The Lady Mustang basketball squad is ready to tip off its
inaugural Tri County Athletic League season with first-year head
coach Kari Williams at the helm.
GILROY – The Lady Mustang basketball squad is ready to tip off its inaugural Tri County Athletic League season with first-year head coach Kari Williams at the helm.

Williams – a second-year teacher at Gilroy High – was an assistant coach for the junior varsity boys golf team last year. She also did some volunteer coaching at the high school level for two basketball seasons in Hawaii.

Williams – who takes over for former head coach Tim Jones – plans to continue the development of the girls basketball program at Gilroy High. Last year, the Lady Mustangs reached the postseason and, this year, they hope to make a deep run into the CCS playoffs.

“This year we’re going to have to be a team because we’re not very tall,” Williams said.

There are five returning varsity players, including senior guard Laura Hennessee, senior forward Jen Olvera, senior guard Danell Dow, junior center Sarah Hoeft, and junior point guard Sara Miller. Williams is counting on her seniors for court-leadership.

“I hope we can play as a team because this year we have a complete new roster,” said Hennessee, a fourth-year varsity player. “I want to be a team leader, someone they can look up to as well.”

Hennessee – an All-League selection last season – will return to her natural shooting guard position after starting at point guard as a junior. Miller is expected to control the rock for Gilroy. Hoeft, a lengthy athletic forward, came off the bench as a sophomore on varsity – but this season the promising junior should carry the scoring load for the Lady Mustangs along with Hennessee.

“(Our goals are) for us to go out there, try our best, hope for the best, and work hard,” Hoeft said. “And on the court, play as a team and show we are a team.”

Dow – a first-team All-League water polo player who also came off the pine as a junior – is a tenacious defender as well as a strong ball handler. Olvera – the varsity softball squad’s ace pitcher – was a force off the bench last season.

Despite some key player losses – including graduates Lindsay Goodere, Brianna Diaz and Janae Robertson as well as departed junior guard Nicole Daye (Notre Dame transfer) – the Lady Mustangs are a playoff-caliber team that has the talent to contend for the TCAL title.

“I expect a lot of good things from them this season,” Williams said.

Since their Nov. 26 non-league opener against Soledad was cancelled, the Lady Mustangs will not open up until the Dec. 5-7 Mustang Classic at Gilroy High.

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