By Ed Gebing and Kyle Moore
While many students enjoyed their downtime during the winter break, the American River College women’s basketball team was in the midst of their 2014 season.
The women have a record of 9-8 and are 4-2 since December 27. They are 3-2 in the Big 8 with 9 conference games remaining on the season.
“I thought we would do well this year. I thought we had great leadership going into the season,” head coach J.R. Matsunami said. “I thought my sophomores would really be able to score, and in the preseason we struggled and now that we are in conference, we’re playing the way that we can play.”
The team has also been helped by some good play from their bench.
“We had a player step up for us that is making a difference for us right now. Her name is Jazlynne Macklin, from Del Campo,” Matsunami said. “At the beginning of the year she was probably the tenth player out of ten, and now she is coming off the bench, and giving us almost double figures in conference. She is somebody that no one has prepared to have to defend, and she has come out of nowhere and really helped us.”
The ultimate goal for the team this season is making the playoffs and for the ladies the goal is in sight.
“Our goal is to get to the playoffs,” Matsunami said. “We want to be able to knock off one of these three teams, and if we do its going to give us an opportunity to, I think not just make the playoffs, but to see if we can win the conference. We’ve got to avoid injuries, we’ve got some key kids and some great chemistry right now.”
Caresse Williams, point guard and leading scorer for the Beavers with 17.9 ppg, says there’s one key to making the playoffs.
“Stay focused. Keep our heads up no matter what happens. We’re trying to get out the kinks…we’re starting to look really good,” said Williams.
The team will play at home tonight against division rival Sierra College at 5:30.
There will be some added emotion in tonight’s game, which will be a memorial game for slain student and employee Marc Zhuchenko.
“All of our kids knew Mark and worked with him in the Dusty Baker Center, it’s a special game,” Matsunami said.