“We feel pretty good about that group,” Mike said. “But what we like most is the different combos and lineups we can use.” Tiana Beale, who the team nicknamed “Bunny,” joins Ikonte and Pagkalinawan as the team’s senior class. Mike spoke highly of her ability to provide instant offense off the bench. Pagkalinawan will get relief at point guard in the form of her sister Camille, a sophomore who was MVP of last year’s JV team, and freshman Marissa Howell. Sophomore Leilani Manuel and freshman Audrey Field provide depth in the post. “The younger players are picking everything up really quickly,” Chyanne Pagkalinawan said. “They know what they’re doing and we have a lot of confidence in them.” MORE: Saugus girls basketball looking to find its swag for upcoming season Mike, who’s in his 19th year with the program, is hardly a stranger to roster turnover. It’s the production he lost from last year’s team that makes that group extra tough to replace. Kayla Konrad (UC Davis), Kenadee Honaker (Southern Oregon), Ashlee Ane (Cal State Fullerton) and Jade Jordan (Cal Lutheran) all moved on to play at the collegiate level. They also combined for 44.8 points and 26.9 rebounds per game last season. The Vikings shared the Foothill League title with Canyon. “That’s what makes this job so fun and challenging,” Mike said. “We have a lot of talent on our current team. We just have to find the right balance.” Though the team is light on seniors, it’s not lacking for leadership. Pagkalinawan and Ikonte are making it a point to pass down the wisdom that comes with winning a Southern Section title and playing in the state playoffs. “These future years are only going to get harder for them because they’re still in that learning and development process,” Ikonte said. “I think we’re having a good influence on them and showing them how we expect things to get done in this program. NOTES — Valencia will take part in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, beginning Dec. 20 against Ventura. It will then take on Ribet Academy (Jan. 3) and Buena (Jan. 5) in exhibitions before beginning Foothill League play on Jan. 9 at home against Saugus.
Valencia girls basketball looking to establish new identity with one returning starter from last year’s CIF-SS title-winning team. Chyanne Pagkalinawan to star at PG once again. Preview drops tomorrow pic.twitter.com/Hq63NX0mhM— Ryan Posner (@ryanposner_) December 14, 2017