HomeSportsYouth, Energy Will Be Key for Lady Titan Cagers

Youth, Energy Will Be Key for Lady Titan Cagers

SAVVY SENIOR: It wil be difficult to picture the Lady Titan girls’ basketball team without Kyli Bonavich, who has played on the varsity squad since arriving on the campus. Daryl Chan Photo

Apparently, this tune will never get old because the coaches at San Marino High School never seem to stop singing it.

It’s not very catchy, unless you are a fan of challenges, and Lady Titan girls’ varsity basketball Coach Annie Yee has never backed down from one in her life.

“We lost a lot of seniors,” said Yee, reprising a chorus that has been sung by her peers the entire school year.

Nine, to be exact, from a team that advanced all the way to the third round of the CIF playoffs—the program’s deepest run in almost two decades—before losing to Cathedral City. But, alas, that is but a pleasant memory, and Yee this past fall welcomed seven young ladies from last year’s junior varsity squad, a substantial transition.

“It’s going well,” said Yee the Optimist. “We have a young group and they are learning as we go. They are working very hard and we are improving every day. This team is learning how to work with each other and understand game situations.”

That’s part of the process. The other comes from the increased physical challenges that come at the varsity level as opposed to its predecessor.

“Varsity basketball is completely different from jayvee basketball,” Yee explained. “The speed of the game and the physical part of it is so different. They are seeing girls who are 6’0” and 6’1” and that can be a little intimidating.”

The results so far have been mixed, yet predictable. With so many new moving parts, the machine has taken a while to get moving, but some solid performances at last week’s Pasadena Polytechnic Tournament have provided hope for the future.

From a roster dominated by seniors a year ago, half of the 2018-19 version of the team is either a freshman or a sophomore.

Guard Chloe Wong, one of those tenth-graders, has a year of varsity experience in the bank.

“Chloe has improved so much and become a leader on the team,” said Yee. “Chloe is someone the coaches are proud of and someone the girls can look up to.”

Freshman Maddie Emmons brings a marksman’s attitude to the team.

FLASHY FROSH: Guard Elaina Lee has added speed and elan to San Marino High School girls’ basketball head Coach Annie Yee’s young team, which lost nine seniors. Daryl Chan Photo

“Maddie is new to the team and has a great shot,” said Yee. “She is a good listener who is doing a good job of getting her game up to speed at the varsity level.”

Junior forward Jocelyn Chang is tough under the boards.

“She is a fierce competitor,” said the coach. “Jocelyn is one of our post players who will work hard to get rebounds. She does her best to commit everything she has to the team.”

Senior guard Joyce Wu provides roster depth.

“Joyce comes off the the bench with a great attitude,” Yee told The Tribune. “She works really hard.”

Junior guard Audrey Lin has been a mainstay on the varsity squad since the day she set foot on campus.

“Audrey is a great returning guard who people enjoy being around,” Yee said.

Junior guard Lisa Lu has proven to be a quick learner.

“Lisa is a very intelligent person who works very hard,” Yee said. “When Lisa started in the program, it was her first year ever playing basketball. She has improved so much.”

Senior guard Emily Thai helps an outside game that was hurt at graduation.

“Emily is one of our best shooters,” Yee said. “She has also improved a lot and gained confidence and strength attacking the basket.”

Kyli Bonavich, a senior who can play inside and outside, has been a bright spot in the program for all of her four years on the varsity roster.

“Kyli is our post player – slash –shooter,” Yee said, paying homage to Bonavich’s durability. “She has stepped up by communicating and helping other players get in position. I am looking forward to seeing more of her leadership.”

Freshman point guard Elaina Lee has added a dash of élan to the squad.

“Elaina has been a sparkplug since she got here,” said the coach. “We are looking for great things out of Elaina.”

Isabella Tse, a sophomore forward, is currently sitting out after returning to the district, but will soon be on the active roster.

“We are really looking forward to getting Isabella on the team,” Yee said. “She brings a lot of energy to the court.”

Senior forward Angel Zhou bolsters the Lady Titans’ presence in the paint.

“Angel is our backup post layer,” Yee explained. “She has good footwork and a nice shot. Angel has been playing more aggressively lately and we hope she continues to do that.”

Sophomore Emily Ting is new to the varsity squad and earning her stripes.

“Emily has a nice shot and can post people up, too,” Yee said. “She is working hard on adjusting to the speed of the varsity game.”

Senior guard Angelina Karapetyan is a fireball of energy on the court.

“Angie is one of our other leaders,” Yee said. “She really gets the group going and understands what we need on the court. Angie is very supportive and helpful.”

Especially considering their youth, the Lady Titans will need big efforts to top Temple City and La Cañada, who are predicted to pace the pack in a Rio Hondo League that will have a different look without Blair, who will not field a varsity squad this year.

“We are going to have to come out aggressive and play with confidence,” Yee concluded. “I am excited to see what we can do in league play but I am most looking forward to a good season where all the girls improve.”

Can’t ask for too much more than that.

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