VWS basketball foresees a triumphant season after returning from pandemic


Sunny Yu

Allison Paik (‘22) shoots in the Webb vs. Gary game that took place on November 18th. Webb ended up losing by only one point, a score of 39-40. Also pictured are Leeann Shu (‘22), Pristine Thomas (‘25), and Karma Griggs (‘23) who unfortunately suffered mild injuries from the game and had to sit out for the remainder of the fourth quarter. Despite the one-point difference, the VWS basketball team were very proud of the way they played and hope to bring the same spirits up in their future games.

With the start of the new season, winter sports are in full swing, and the VWS varsity basketball team is especially excited to engage in practices and play games. With a shortened season last year due to the pandemic, the number of games had been cut short to only league games.

Last school year, in order to keep students and schools safe, the California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF, classified basketball as a spring sport with the season beginning in April and ending in late May. Hence, players only receive a short break and do not get much time to practice and train for this upcoming season which begins again in November. 

Now that a more regular school year is resuming, the winter basketball season is back and the team is ready for a victorious season. Compounded by the departures of lead scorers of the past couple of seasons such as Chloe Stewart (‘20), Andrea Phung (‘20), and Dora Csonge (‘21), the VWS basketball team has undergone major changes, with the addition of many new freshmen players, as well as underclassmen athletes stepping up on the court. 

Coach Ronnie Alvarado and Coach Amahl Thomas continue their roles this season as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. There are also four senior returning players: Marie Blake (‘22), Allison Paik (‘22), Leeann Shu (‘22), and Bianca Arteaga (‘22). Returning for her fourth year with VWS varsity basketball, Marie Blake (‘22) has helped lead the team these past two years and is the top returning scorer. 

The VWS team won all league games and the Academy League title in 2019 and 2020; they have, as a result, been placed into a tougher San Joaquin League, comprising of Division 1 schools like Orangewood Academy and Fairmont Prep.  

“We are in the last year of a very tough league,” said Coach Ronnie, head VWS varsity basketball coach. “This year our focus is on building fundamentals and preparing for the years to come.” 

The tough league games this season begin in January 2022, so the team has focused on building and maintaining a strong team chemistry during practices. With an even distribution of both returning and new players, teamwork and collaboration are key to being successful, even despite what the scoreboard says. 

“We have a team full of new players and underclassmen,” Coach Ronnie said. “We are so excited to see everyone meshing together so well. Our girls have been working so hard in practice and our staff is ecstatic to see fearless hustlers.” 

Players also share Coach Ronnie’s enthusiasm about building connections and focusing on effective communication with one another. Seniors are especially excited to take the lead and make the most out of their last basketball season here at Webb. 

“This year, I look forward to making memories with my teammates and showing the underclassmen how to become a leader on the team,” said Allison Paik (‘22), returning three-year senior and co-captain of the team. 

“I’m most excited to just play basketball on the court,” said Erika Malicay (‘25), a starting forward for the team. “I want to be the best I can be and don’t want to disappoint my teammates, I just hope I can do that.” 

The VWS varsity basketball team just had their first home game against Garey High School this Thursday, November 18th where they lost by just one point, the score 39-40. Despite how frustrating it feels, this game only brought the team closer together and set higher goals for themselves in the future, especially now knowing everyone’s full potential and capabilities. 

“Close games, [like the game against Garey] where it’s 39-40 and we need one more point to win are my favorite,” Erika said. “It creates an unbreakable bond with my teammates, and I love it.” 

“Although we lost by one point, our hustle and drive to outplay the other team really shined through,” Allison said. “My goal for all of us is to help one another improve.”