Whitney and Rocklin enter league with all to gain
ROCKLIN– The Sierra Foothill League competition begins Friday for girls basketball as the preseason draws to a close.
The Wildcats closed out their first season at the West Coast Jamboree in Concord, finishing 1-2 in the tournament and losing a heartbreaker to Montgomery, 55-52. The Vikings improved to 11-2, while the ‘Cats dropped to 9-7.
Although it may not be the start some Whitney fans thought this season’s senior-laden team would have, they finished with a 15.1 strength-of-schedule. The Wildcats’ ranking is second only to Folsom’s 16.8.
The Wildcats’ Jada Lewis leads the team with a 15.5 scoring average. Makenzie MacFarlane and Emily Brustman are contributing more than eight points per game each.
Lewis, in spite of playing a guard position, is also the team’s top rebounder. She also is one of the league’s top defenders, with 67 steals so far this season.
The ‘Cats started with a couple double-digit losses to McClatchy and St. Joseph Notre Dame early in the season but since have lost by margins of less than eight points. The last two games in the WCJ, the margins were three points each.
By chance, they have played Franklin three times and lost each time. However, the Elk Grove school is 11-4 on the season and ranked fifth for Division I in the Sac-Joaquin Section by MaxPreps.
Whitney will start its first trip through the SFL Friday hosting Del Oro at 5:30 p.m.
No strangers to the SFL, the Thunder have compiled a 9-9 preseason record.
With Jessie Ruffner the only player with a scoring average in double-figures, it would appear Rocklin goes as Ruffner goes. But in five of the team’s victories, the senior averaged less than nine points a game.
In fact, in those games, high-point honors were shared or went to sophomores Gracie Haynes and Lillian Dyer or juniors Mira McCarley or Emma Weufling.
New head coach Jenna Herford has a young team with three seniors and no height to speak of. Case in point, Ruffner, who is 5-feet-8-inches, leads the team in rebounds.
Three SFL teams have players 6-feet or more and Folsom has one who is 6-6. Even cross-town rival Whitney has a 6-1 freshman.
That means the Thunder will have to rely on defense. In the nine games Rocklin has won, their opponents averaged less than 39 points. In the games they’ve lost, their opponents averaged more than 57 points.
Rocklin swings into SFL action Friday in Folsom at 5:30 p.m.