I sat down with Head Coach Chris Benton of the CIF champion girls basketball team this afternoon to talk about the season and preparation for tonight’s state championship tournament game against Righetti.
The Lancer: What has the journey been like leading to the title?
Coach Benton: It’s been a whirlwind. It was a hectic schedule. The extra attention has been crazy. The girls handled everything really well. I have never got the impression that the girls have been nervous. They are a very loose group and I think that has helped them to navigate the journey.
TL: State game against Righetti. How did you prepare for this game?
CB: First, we always assess damages from last game. That means injuries and things that did not go well and need to be adjusted moving forward. I research the next opponent, then we assign our matchups and possible advantages. It’s a guessing game and no plan has been perfect yet. We always make contingency plans in case things go differently during the game. Our preparation for this game has been the same as the others.
TL: With a young team, only 4 seniors, what lies ahead?
CB: We have a lot of talent in the program. Both of our lower level teams were undefeated in league this year and won titles. Our future will depend on the work we put in to get better and improve mentally and physically on the court. However, we will miss our seniors a great deal. Their production on the court has been huge, but their leadership will be the toughest thing to replace.
TL: Coming off a title win. How are you going to get the team to maintain focus?
CB: That’s the toughest part of this. We have tried to keep everything loose and tried to keep the stress and pressure to a minimum. The girls have been great at maintaining focus up to this point. I think we should be OK.
TL: Going into another game against a team with great numbers, they were 14-0 in league, What’s the plan to overcome them?
CB: We have down playing records and rankings all year. We played a very tough schedule this year and we know we can compete with anybody, if we play well. We have won the last 4 games in the tournament against teams that are ranked much higher than us. Our approach will be the same. We will concentrate on executing what we want to do.
TL: In the post game press conference you talked about a lot of injuries at the start of the season. How have you gotten the girls who were injured to rebound back so well?
CB: The girls have been tough and resilient. They have been getting the right treatment, and they put in the work to get back on the court. Coach Kacena has been very helpful at keeping the team fit and as healthy as possible. We made adjustments to our practice structure to help deal with some of these injuries. Quite a few of the girls are definitely not 100% but its been like that for quite awhile. Everyone has been stepping up when they need to.
Make sure to come support the team tonight at 7:00 in the Lancer Gym. The admission prices are nine dollars for adults and five dollars for children.
Highlights from the press conference moments after Thousand Oaks took beat Glendora 62-52, to clench the D3AA Girls title. pic.twitter.com/CIKqdEOi5J
— CIF Southern Section (@CIFSS) March 4, 2017
Photo Credit // Lancer Legend // With Permission