Golden Valley girls basketball coach Galbert Conner started his tenure on the bench with a 50-41 home loss to Royal High of Simi Valley on Tuesday night.
Missed layups and missed free throws hurt the Grizzlies (0-1). The team has six seniors, but Conner said six players are also playing varsity basketball for the first time.
The team, Galbert says, is an “inexperienced old team” and has a lot to work on this upcoming season.
“They played well, considering they’re learning a whole new system,” Conner said. “So we’re all adjusting to our new roles.”
Golden Valley (0-1) jumped out ahead of the Highlanders (1-0) early in the first quarter, taking an early 3-0 lead a few minutes into the game. The teams battled through the first quarter before Royal finished the period with a 10-7 lead.
During the second quarter Simi Royal slowly extended its lead to six points before Conner called a timeout with 3:08 left in the quarter to try to wrestle momentum back from the Highlanders. A 3-pointer from Simi Royal’s Kenzie Burningham made the game 22-15, though, soon after.
The Highlanders went into halftime with a 24-19 lead and kept the Grizzlies at arm’s length the rest of the night.
Royal quickly got into foul trouble early in the second half after racking up three team fouls in the first minute, but Golden Valley could not hit free throws later in the half. Both teams played sloppy at times, as Golden Valley had 14 turnovers and Royal had 10, each showing signs of early-season growing pains.
“Once we fix that, we’ll be more competitive,” Conner said.
Serene Tyus, a senior, led the Grizzlies in scoring with 13 points. Royal’s Jessica Garner led the game in scoring with 23 points. Burningham also added eight points for the Highlanders.
“I feel like we did well for the first game of the year,” Tyus said.
Golden Valley’s next game is Nov. 30 at Highland High.