Hart girls hoops making the most of its summer

Hart's Annie Christofferson, pictured here during practice last November, and her Indians teammates have been busy this summer. Katharine Lotze/Signal

In the past seven days, Hart girls basketball has played 14 games.

That’s on top of practicing at 6 a.m. sharp every morning.

“It’s just kind of one of those go to work, get up, go to work, come out here, do your job and just fight until the buzzer sounds,” said Indians coach Terra Palmer.

Summer vacation has been anything but for the Indians.

Hart finished nearly smack in the middle of the Foothill League last season, with dominating foes Valencia and Canyon before them and struggling Saugus, Golden Valley and West Ranch teams behind them.

The Indians are determined to improve on their third-place finish, but they’ll have work around the departure of recent grads Natalea Daily and Nicole Benz first.

Both provided well-rounded stat lines on a consistent basis but had different roles. Daily had a physical presence while Benz was a smart, silent leader.

Trudy Larkins has stepped in the “tough guy” role, as Palmer calls it. Haylyn Nguyen is working to become a leader.

“Nicole was a very calm person,” Nguyen said. “She never was riled up or anything, so she kept us calm, composed, and that’s what I really take away from her.”

Although she sat out of Hart’s Burroughs summer league games Tuesday because of lingering pain in her Achilles tendon, Annie Christofferson, a rising-senior sharpshooter, is a presence in preparing for the upcoming season as well.

Christofferson joined the Indians last season after transferring from West Ranch.

“She just really walked in and felt very comfortable right away,” Palmer said, “… which was great. And on the basketball side, she’s a great player who can score at will and create other shots for her teammates.”

Throw in a crop of younger players coming into their own, and Hart is half a summer and a fall away from making their mark in league.

“We’re never going to stop being that team that fights for every ball, that runs all the time,” Nguyen said. “We’re proving that we can keep being ourselves and that we’re never going to lose our pride.”

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