The front-running Sequoia High School girls’ basketball team jumped out to a big lead in the Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division race and now controls its own fate with a league title in reach.
“I’m very satisfied with what we’ve done,” Sequoia coach Steve Picchi said.
The Cherokees sat on the doorstep of a league title each of the past two seasons only to fall short. Their continued commitment to defense has them just shy of claiming that elusive championship.
“We’ve been really gelling as a team. Playing great defense,” Picchi said. “I care a lot about it. We take a lot of pride in it.”
Sequoia returned two all-league players Alaina Woo and Bulou Matiatoga, but recently Picchi has been impressed with the energy and play of Emonni Alo and Hailey Carroll on the defensive side of the ball.
“She plays defense 100 percent of the time hard. She means a whole lot to us,” Picchi said of Alo. “Those two for me have stepped up and have been real strong.”
The Cherokees have two games left, but are not looking that far ahead, even with the PAL tournament only less than two weeks away.
“Anybody who steps on the court has the opportunity of winning,” Picchi said. “You don’t ever look past your opponent. What do you have to gain by looking past your opponent? Nothing.”
Sequoia dropped its first league game Tuesday against Woodside, but Picchi isn’t too concerned.
“I like that the fact that after our toughest loss, you find yourselves alone in first place. I feel good about it,” he said. “It’s too often coaches look for something we did wrong. I’d rather give Woodside credit.”
Sequoia is looking to bounce back and hopes to finish the league schedule strong.
“We have to take care of business in these games. That’s something as a team we’ve put a priority on,”
By finishing first in the Lake, the Cherokees would face the last-place team in the Ocean Division in the PAL tournament, which will either be in South San Francisco or Carlmont.
“Defense becomes more important as the games become more important,” Picchi said. “We need to play every game the same. We have to do what we have to do.”
Sequoia advanced to the second round of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs before losing to Lynbrook last season.