The final run ep 3: Girls Basketball

Exploring the CCS journey of seniors in the MV girls basketball team

Minjae Kang and Alex Zhang

AZ: In today’s podcast, we’re exploring CCS reflections with seniors Emi Kosakura, Varshini Peddinti and Julianna Kimm on MV Girls Basketball’s historic run as one of only three MV athletics teams to make it to the CIF Central Coast Section Playoffs. My name is Alex Zhang and this is my co-host Minjae Kang.

MK: So, as you might already know, I want to talk about your experience during CCS. So first of all, what do you think you personally did well during the tournament?

JK: Personally, I think, I think it was the semifinals, the game we played against Willow Glen. I think I did really well in — my shooting was just, really good that game and I think it, it got the team really hyped up and I think overall the energy on the court was really good.

EK: Our first round, which was the second round, we played Willow Glen and personally and as a team I know that we did really well that game. It was really rewarding, especially after last year’s CCS run and just knowing what we are capable of. I know that first win felt really good for everyone.

VP: And I got to see that game through another perspective because I just got out of surgery from my ACL injury and so I was in bed watching the game. And it was really awesome because I could see how hyped the team was, especially considering it was our first CCS game of the season. And then we also got a bye and it was really awesome just to see my teammates support each other and I know that that moment was very wholesome when you guys won and just seeing you guys celebrate after was really cool to see.

MK: Is there anything you thought you could have done better?

JK: I think the next game when we were in the quarterfinals against Hillsdale, I think I kind of brought more of that energy, especially because we were really far away and I think we had already kind of had the mindset [that] we could lose this game instead of staying more positive. And I think that is kind of what got us. I wasn’t hitting as many shots and I think I was a little bit more timid in the way I was playing.

EK: Going into the game, I knew it was going to be tough. Also, it was over ski week, I believe it was over the break, so I don’t know if everyone was really tired? I was recovering from a cold but I think just being on break, we kind of got out of a routine, but overall it was still a good game but I don’t think we played as best as we could have been that game.

AZ: On the topic of the ACL injury and then also a cold, do injuries play a big factor in the games or do people play through that, were people benched? How’d that work?

VP: Personally since I’m a teammate who got injured, I’d say on my end, it’s just hard not being able to be there for my teammates, knowing that I’ve played with many of them for so many years and then also being that it’s senior year, kind of tough to watch because you’re watching them play and you’re like, ‘Oh, I wish I could be there to support them or give high fives during a game’ or maybe you want to bounce called pick each other up. But I’d say sometimes, near the end of the season, because we’re so worn out because you know, we get injuries here and there. I think that does play a role in each game because you have to kind of rejuvenate yourself and rewind and be like ‘OK, that’s just one game I can get through it, even though I have an injury or something like that.’ So I do see, especially in team sports if a teammate is injured it can sometimes affect the group dynamic both on the court and also off the court just because we’re always spending so much time with each other.

EK: I would definitely agree. After Varshini got injured, a big part of our team is missing. I knew she was still there, but just being on the court with her. It’s something that everyone missed, especially me. But I know she got hurt towards the beginning of the league. So going into CCS, we knew she wouldn’t be playing with us, but I think it hurt for me personally more because I know that the outcome of CCS games probably could have been or would have been different with having our full strength and full team.

AZ: And then I think kind of having that talk about team dynamic changing a little bit. Do you think that maybe some more less experienced players had to step up or was it kind of just, how did you guys find your way I guess back into a group or did you?

VP: That’s a really good point. And I think even though the team dynamic changed, we were very resilient and we came back very strong, because when I got injured I definitely saw a lot of the underclassmen got more chance to play in they had more playing time and they significantly improved by scoring more points, playing really good defense, just because they got more playing time. And I think they also had the mindset that they had this chance or this opportunity to play and they also have later years to improve as well. And it’s really nice to see that because you see their growth. But then when you’re off the court you also see their growth even more immensely because you really get to watch them play. So I’d say even though our team dynamic was affected for a little bit, I’d say we definitely got back to being the team that we were despite different circumstances that were happening.

EK: Yes, I agree. A lot of people who might’ve not had the chance to play as much before, definitely stepped up and played that bigger role. I know at times they put some pressure on themselves because they felt like they had to fill Varshini’s shoes or other things like that. But in the end everyone individually has their different strengths and I think throughout the games they were able to show that.

JK: I think overall we just had a really good energy about us, especially because a lot of our team is sophomores and juniors. They all just have this really great energy and they’re always really positive and I think that chemistry translates onto the court where you play, which is how we can do so well in the games.

MK: So this was your last CCS as a player so how do you feel leaving the team?

JK: It’s definitely a bittersweet moment because I love this team. They’re amazing, everyone is so nice, and supportive, but I think it’s also like in retrospect, it’s nice to think about, oh, how well we’ve done the last couple of seasons because our team has done really well. And so I think, I don’t know I’ll definitely miss this team in the program because it was definitely like a second family to me, but it’s very bittersweet.

EK: Yeah, but I think for me personally, one of my goals, I guess, personal goals this year was to work more with Varshini and Sophia. And then when Varshini got hurt, it was definitely harder for me, but Sophia definitely stepped up there and I enjoyed playing with her. We trust each other in a different way than everyone else on the team. Me, trusting her, I wanted to get her the ball because I knew what she was capable of and I didn’t want her to have that mindset because I know at times she can feel discouraged. But just being able to play that two-man game with her is something that was really special to me.

VP: I don’t remember a specific moment, I guess but oh actually I do. There’s this one time when I realized I think it hit me, that it was my senior year and my last season was when I think one of my teammates came up to me during practice and they were asking me how to run one of the drills or the plays. And I’m like, that’s usually me who’s asking somebody else how does this drill work? Or how does this play? Work? And that really hit me that you know, I’ve been on this team for so many years and I’ve grown with my teammates and I’ve learned from them and now it’s my turn to give back to the team and just be sort of a leader that many have done for me in previous years.

MK: And finally, is there anything you want to say to the current juniors and sophomore in the team?

JK: Keep playing hard and pushing through because I know that, they can achieve literally whatever they want as long as they work really hard for it because this is such an amazing team and they’re all very supportive of each other, which I think is very important.

VP: Okay, um, yeah, definitely the whole legacy thing that hit me during our senior night, when we went through all seven of the senior speeches and then everybody had something to say to the rest of the team. And what they’re leaving behind. And it was just a really heartfelt and a really wholesome moment, because it’s like you’re reaching a full circle moment. And it’s really awesome to see just how much of a family we’ve become through just being part of a basketball team and it’s like you probably wouldn’t have known them. If you weren’t part of the team you weren’t as close compared to, I don’t know, being classmates or something like that. So it’s really nice to see just the memories that we made and I know if I come back during the alumni game or during break from college I’ll get to see the impact that I made but also just the memories that I made through the team as well. So it’s really nice to see that.

EK: I would say, when the season came to an end that’s definitely when it hit me most that it was my senior season because throughout the whole season, I was like ‘Oh, I have one more game. I have X number of games left.’ But overall, I would just say it’s, it was very bittersweet, I guess just because I’ve been playing for four years here at Monta Vista and getting to play with all the underclassmen and the seniors as well. And seeing how everyone’s grown so much. I’m definitely going to miss the people I think the most, just surrounding myself with them, or being surrounded by them every day for I don’t know how long the season is over, just being around them. Whether that’s practice or after practice bonding. I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most but I know that everyone’s just going to continue to get better and continue to continue the Monta Vista Girls Basketball legacy but I think yeah, I don’t really know. I think it hit me most when, Varshini said on senior night. I think it was senior night. We were not doing very well, but but I remember I wasn’t in and then coach Gill wanted to put me in for the last minute or two just to play with my sister one last time and I think that is when it hit me that I wasn’t gonna play with her, and the rest of the underclassmen again.

EE: Finally, is there anything you want? To say to the current junior or sophomore senior?

EK: I would just say to enjoy every moment that you have with each other. I know basketball season can get very overwhelming, emotionally and physically. So I think just taking time for yourself is very important during these couple months and just being there for each other. Everyone on the team understands what you’re going through just because of how much basketball season can affect you. But just enjoying the time you have together and appreciating all the little moments you have in between is most important.

VP: I have to definitely agree that just the little things matter so much throughout the season. Just the small moments with your teammates during practice or team bonding or cheering for each other during a game really matter. And I feel like I didn’t realize all of that until after the season ended. So I definitely say just take the time to reflect maybe here and there throughout season and just be very proud of yourselves because just being on the team and showing up for three hour practices and traveling to games and just all of that rigor takes a lot of effort out of your time and everything else that you have in your life. So just being proud and just being there in the moment can really help you feel like you’re part of the family and just really make your whole experience as a full circle moment.

AZ: Thank you so much Emi, Varshini, and Julianna for talking with us. We are Alex Zhang and Minjae Kang. Thanks so much for joining us and look out for our next episode.