Patriot girls shoot for deep playoff run
The Warriors have been flat-out dominant on the court this season. That statement applies as much to the three girls basketball squads at Patriot High School as it does to the defending NBA champions.
The varsity Warriors, at 28-0, posted the best record – and longest wining streak – of any team in the state. Of the 50 teams in Division 3AA, the Warriors were second in scoring (1,672 points, 24 behind Lakeside) and first in lowest points allowed per 28 games (669, or 24 per 32-minute game).
Patriot looks to continue that streak Thursday, Feb. 18, when it opens the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs at home against Pasadena. If they beat the Bulldogs, the Warriors – ranked fifth in the Press Enterprise HS GameTime girls basketball Inland Top 25 – play again Saturday, Feb. 20, against the winner of Thursday's contest between Moorpark and Gabrielino.
Warriors coach John Hill emphasized his players' hard work and focus as key to success throughout the program: Patriot varsity was 28-0, junior varsity was 18-0 and freshmen were 18-0, for an astonishing combined won-loss record of 64-0.
"They are willing to focus on what can be accomplished if they all work together," Hill said. "… We emphasize making the correct play. If someone is more open than you, give them the ball."
Such fundamentals are one reason the Patriot girls have reached the CIF quarterfinals or semifinals in each of the past three years. When spectators watch the squad play, Hill said, they don't label it "girls basketball.'' Instead, "they will say they watched a really good basketball game that happened to be played by girls."
Nor is it hard to keep the squad motivated, the longtime coach said. The girls' skills have earned them widespread respect on campus from teachers, male athletes and other students. "Getting that respect from their contemporaries goes a long way. … Once you experience that, it makes you want to do better."
A further reason for success: The girls take it one day and one game at a time, enjoying the journey. They love the game, they love their school, and "they give 100 percent at practice every day and then turn around and do it again," Hill said. "It's amazing where that will lead you."
With some strong postseason play, it just might lead to the same place it did for Golden State.
The Patriot Warriors play the Pasadena Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Patriot High School. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For more information, call (951) 361-6500 and ask for the athletic secretary.
Photo credit: David Bauman. Used with permission of the Press Enterprise.