Sanchez said his hope is to at least top the team’s second place win in the Southwestern League last year.
“Our emphasis is going to be on the defensive end and rebounding the basketball,” he said. “We won’t be any taller than any team we’re going to play, and we have to do the little things we need to do to win the games we think we should win.”
Bowden said he’s now relying on the skills of current seniors Jana Horn, Nikki Hoelzer and Kaylee Walker.
“Each has been in for a couple of years, and I want them to be leaders both on and off the basketball floor,” he said.
Tryouts were last week, with a good turnout, Sanchez said, and 33 girls were chosen to play on three teams: varsity, junior varsity and the C-Team, which is made up of freshmen and sophomores.
Last year was Sanchez’ first year of coaching at MHS, and the girls’ varsity team finished with an 18-7 overall record, with a 7-3 record in league play.
“We made it to Sweet 16 of the 4A state tournament,” Sanchez said. “We lost one senior, but she was a heck of a player,” he said, referring to Bowden, who is now playing varsity basketball for Mesa State.
Central High in Grand Junction beat out MHS girls’ for the top spot in league competition last year but the team to beat this year will be Grand Junction High School, Sanchez predicted, adding that all the teams are “pretty good.
“It will be a challenge for us every single night,” he said.
All three girls’ teams will play their first games in a tournament in Shiprock N.M. on Dec. 2-4. Their next tournament is on Dec. 9-11 in Steamboat Springs, and their first home game will be Dec. 17-18 for the Black Canyon Classic.
Another big tournament will be in Douglas County Jan. 7-8, before league play starts on the weekend of Jan. 14-15, Sanchez said. League play includes competition with 10 other schools, with each school played twice, he said, with one game at home and the other away.
“After that, the state tourney will be decided on how schools place in overall record, for whoever is hosting the early rounds [of playoffs],” he said.
The Final Four of the girls’ 4A basketball state competition is traditionally held at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Sanchez said.