El Cap varsity basketball plays all underclassmen

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Every program goes through rebuilding seasons, but El Capitan girls basketball team is really starting from the foundations. 

The varsity squad has no seniors and no juniors. In fact, on the roster of about a dozen enthusiastic up-and-coming athletes, only three are even sophomores.

Head coach Darin Curtis said the makeup of the program is pretty unusual this year.

Every program goes through rebuilding seasons, but El Capitan girls basketball team is really starting from the foundations. 

The varsity squad has no seniors and no juniors. In fact, on the roster of about a dozen enthusiastic up-and-coming athletes, only three are even sophomores.

Head coach Darin Curtis said the makeup of the program is pretty unusual this year.

“It is one of the most interesting seasons I’ve ever had as a coach,” he said. “We’re all having to shift roles and take on more responsibility.”

Preseason has been rough for the Vaqueros, who are 5-11.

“Our record is terrible, but it’s not a reflection of what we’ve learned,” said Curtis. “The method is exposure. We’ve lost five games in a row by single digits and the only way to win them is to keep playing them till you figure it out. Going forward is going to be a good second half of the season.”

Curtis’ son, Dylan, who played basketball and volleyball at El Capitan, has returned to join the Vaquero coaching staff. The whole Curtis family is heavily invested in basketball, said Dylan.

“Besides the fact that my sister’s on the team, my dad is the head coach, my brother is the JV coach, and my other sister is an assistant coach — she played at El Cap, she was all-CIF when she played — when we come to basketball, we put family aside and it’s business time,” he said, “time to work.”

And there is a lot of work to do with the young Vaqueros.

Both father and son agree that the hardest part of coaching an inexperienced team is reconciling potential with reality.

“There are ups and downs, and when we’re young, there are a lot of downs,” said Dylan. “The most frustrating thing is that we can see where they’re going to be and we want them to be there now but they’re just not there yet.”

Team captain, sophomore Jordan Grandy, said she is comfortable with the team dynamics.

“I definitely feel young, but it’s a great learning experience,” she said. “And knowing that we’re going to have [the freshmen] for the next three years till I graduate makes us feel safe that we’re going to carry on to be good.”

Freshman Mackenzie Curtis, who led the team in points scored against Sweetwater for a 55-15 win on January 5, 2018, said this, her first high school season, has been a long time in coming.

“I’ve been waiting for this high school season for a long time,” she said. “My hope is that we have fun and go as far as we can. I would love to win league and CIF but we have to work hard to get there.”

And from here, the team has nowhere to go but up, said Dylan.

“Something special is happening, it’s just going to take time to progress,” he said.“This season should be one to remember.”

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