Lady Brahmas break eight-year streak

Justin Prakaiphetkul, Asst. Sports Editor

After two consecutive 20-win seasons, the Diamond Bar High School girls basketball team will not make the CIF playoffs this year.

According to head coach Tony McCabe, this is the first time the team has missed the CIF playoffs in eight years.

Yet, the Lady Brahmas ended the season on a positive note by winning their final game against Claremont, 33-32. The girls finished with a league record of 1-9, placing last in the Palomares League, and 6-20 overall. In the three tournaments that the girls took part in, the team finished 5-7.

In their second to last game, the girls lost to South Hills, 59-36. Junior Angela Hung scored a career high of 17 points during the game, which is also the team’s season high for an individual scorer.

McCabe attributes the team’s struggles this season to the other teams in the Palomares League improving, as well as key injuries to multiple players and the loss of three collegiate level players from last season.

“This team just fell behind [due to the injuries]. We’re getting better and better fast. We’re just behind, and you can’t catch up in a race where everybody is running just as fast,” McCabe said.

Although the team has struggled on offense for the majority of the season, the team began to score more toward the latter half of the year, according to McCabe. The Lady Brahmas also held their opponents to under their season averages.

“Our defense has been getting better, but the scoring has just been difficult. Our shooting percentages have been low all season. They’re improving, but they’re low,” McCabe said.

Throughout the season, the Lady Brahmas have constantly changed their starting five, trying to find the best combination of players and the right consistency in lineups, according to senior guard Kaitlyn Lee. Without any main go-to option, the Lady Brahmas adopted a score-by-committee approach.

“There are a few that will score more during the game, like [sophomore] Karen Shao, [junior] Kayla Hunt, or Angela Hung, but I think its pretty distributed throughout,” Lee said.

Despite the Lady Brahmas’ lackluster record, McCabe stated that the girls have had one of the best attitudes toward the sport that he has ever seen out of all the teams that he has coached.

“This is probably the most fun I have ever had. These guys are just always upbeat and fun. Even though they didn’t win a championship, they sure have a championship attitude,” McCabe said.

During her two years on varsity, Lee said she felt that one of McCabe’s biggest contributions to the team was that he always looks out for the best interests of the team, communicating with the players and helping them overcome any issues. Additionally, McCabe often watched film of their games with the other assistant coaches to analyze how the team could improve for upcoming games.

“In the moment in the game, it is different than watching and reviewing yourself, so definitely seeing yourself on the court and seeing ‘Oh, I should have made this pass’ or ‘ Oh, I could have seen this play or pass it to this person,’ it definitely helps you look for it during practices and in the future games,” Lee said.

According to Lee, the underclassmen have had a beneficial impact on the team this season with their energy and speed. Although the team will be losing five seniors next season, Lee is confident in the underclassmen’s ability to take over the reins.

“Our starting lineup is heavy on the underclassmen. They have definitely had a lot of experience playing from this year, and I know they’re going to grow even more throughout the summer and into next year,” Lee said.