2016-11-25 / Sports

Ready for the jump

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL REPORT /// Coastal Canyon League Simi Valley, Royal to battle for Coastal Canyon League girls’ basketball glory
By Jonathan Andrade

BRING THE NOISE—Arianna Bell-Warren dribbles the ball during practice with the Royal High girls’ basketball team earlier this week. 
Photos by ROB VARELA/Acorn Newspapers BRING THE NOISE—Arianna Bell-Warren dribbles the ball during practice with the Royal High girls’ basketball team earlier this week. Photos by ROB VARELA/Acorn Newspapers The Coastal Canyon League will be up for grabs.

Camarillo High’s girls’ basketball squad, the back-to-back defending league champs, returns a quality lineup. Moorpark, Oak Park, Simi Valley and Royal will challenge the Scorpions. League action tips off on Jan. 11.

Here’s a closer look at the Coastal Canyon teams:


The Pioneers are on the rise.

While Simi Valley only snagged two league wins last year, it’s an improvement for a team that was 2-75 in league action the previous six seasons.

Fourth-year head coach Tanya Wismann said she thinks her team can continue trending up.

“We want to beat last year’s record,” she said. “I feel I have a more well-rounded team and a deeper bench this year. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of teams in our league.”

RELEASE—Royal’s Lexie Burningham shoots the ball at practice. RELEASE—Royal’s Lexie Burningham shoots the ball at practice. The Pioneers are solid in the post.

Alicia Porter, a sophomore who played volleyball in the fall, starts at center. Seniors Jessica Kabat and Andrea Nuno are talented bigs who can defend and rebound under the boards.

Allison O’Toole, a junior, is an explosive point guard who can play lockdown defense. Seniors Hannah Westrup, Nicole Murphy and Amanda Burlingham; junior Aliya Mitchell Frank and freshman Miranda Carabello bolster the squad.

The Pioneers take the floor for the first time at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 30 against Buena in the Buena Tournament.

“With the team I have, I feel like we can be a top competitor,” Wismann said, “but it’s not going to be easy. I know our league is going to be strong.”


Royal went 13-14 overall, 5-3 in league last season, finishing second in the Coastal Canyon standings last winter.

Craig Sasaki, the Highlanders’ first-year head coach, declined multiple interview requests with the Acorn.

Jessica Garner, a senior who led the team with 12.2 points per game last season, is a starting guard.

Seniors Kenzie Burningham and Arianna Bell-Warren, and junior Lexie Burningham also contribute for Royal, which won its season opener 50-41 against Golden Valley on Nov. 22.

The Highlanders play in the Viewpoint Tournament next week.


Camarillo returns most of its roster from last year’s team, which reached the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A playoffs.

Only three Scorpions don’t have varsity experience: sophomore power forward Catherine Rudolph and freshman guards Jocel Deleon and Alisa Marin.

Cameran Bahnsen, a senior captain who suits up at forward, is hoping to put together a fitting finish to a solid career with the Scorpions, who finished 21-7 overall last year, including 7-1 in league. Bahnsen was the league MVP as a sophomore and was an all-league first team selection last year, when she averaged 11.6 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“We’re looking for her to step up and have a big-time senior year,” head coach Mike Prewitt said. “She’s motivated. That’s contagious with the rest of the team.”

Madeline Weight, a junior point guard; Nikki Puga, a senior guard; Bryne Kirksey, a senior guard; and Sierra Richey, a junior small forward, are impact starters.

Faith Chavez, a senior captain and forward, will come off the bench with junior guard Marissa Hiji.

Camarillo’s still fine-tuning its defense, but producing on offense shouldn’t be a problem.

“We’ll push the ball,” the coach said. “We’ll look to get some shots off the fast break. If not, we have various sets we can go to.”

The Scorpions (1-0) opened the season with an 83-19 win over Community Charter on Nov. 22. Camarillo faces Oxnard at 3 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Buena Tournament.


Camarillo head coach Mike Prewitt said the Musketeers were preseason favorites to secure a league crown this season, but Moorpark head coach Neil Foreman isn’t scheduling a victory parade yet.

Foreman, a fourth-year skipper, knows it won’t be easy maneuvering the Coastal Canyon gauntlet.

“I think we’re one of the favorites,” he said, “but anyone can win any game in league. We’re taking it a game at a time.”

Autumn Santiago and Cortney Fukuda are experienced senior guards. Sidnee Yannello, a senior, and Rebecca Penner, a junior, patrol the paint at forward for the Musketeers, who qualified for the Division 3AA playoffs last year.

“They’re playing well together right now,” Foreman said. “Our chemistry is at an all-time high. We’re looking forward to seeing how it translates onto the court.”

Juniors Cassidy Fukuda, Cortney’s younger sister, Eastin Embry and Katie Coonce boost the bench. Moorpark also added transfer Serena Simms, a junior forward who averaged 7.9 points and 4.1 rebounds last season at Lindbergh High in Renton, Wash.

The Musketeers open the season at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 against University at home.

“It’s going to be a great season for us,” Foreman said. “I think we’ll make a good push for league and a big push in playoffs. We’re excited to get going.”


Erin Somers, a second-year head coach, and the Eagles are starting to find a groove.

Oak Park will boast a presence in the post with talented freshmen Julia Broms and Mia Foresti.

Foresti will start at center, but Broms is recovering from an injury. Broms is expected to return to the court by the end of December.

“We’ll need her because she’s been a star in the post,” Somers said of Broms. “Having somebody tall has been really great for us. Our guards, who are used to driving, now have the option to dump it into the post.”

Oak Park flaunts an experienced backcourt.

Emily Burnison, a shooting guard, is a third-year varsity player who can attack the hoop and hit jumpers.

Fellow guards Ashley Masuda, a senior, and Amanda Lewin, a junior, expect to give defenses fits with their speed and court vision. Ariana Yaffe, a senior, will start at forward. Abby Messe, a sophomore, is the team’s top 3-point shooter. Carly Dion, a senior, and Kailani Johansson, a sophomore, provide sparks off the bench.

Oak Park tips off at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 30 against Milken in the Viewpoint Tournament. The Eagles begin league play at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 on the road against Royal.

“I think we’ll be able to compete more this year,” Somers said. “Last year was a transition for everybody. It was us kind of finding what was going to work. This year our team chemistry-wise is so much better.”

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