Expectations are high for Millikan’s girls’ basketball team this year, with the Rams starting the season on the CIF Southern Section’s Division 2AA watchlist. Head coach Lorene Morgan is all but guaranteed to become just the 19th high school girls’ basketball coach in California history to reach 600 wins this season–according to the Cal-Hi Sports almanac, she enters this season with 595 wins.
Morgan’s wins have all come at Millikan since she began her varsity coaching career with the Rams in 1990, making her the Moore League’s all-time wins leader in the sport.
As you’d expect for a coach that accomplished, Morgan has a deeply-developed offseason program that’s resulted in her program’s consistent success. That program was thrown out the window for last year thanks to COVID-19, which made it so there was no Summer or Fall program, and teams began playing after just a handful of practices.
“This year was the first time the majority of our team hadn’t gone through our Summer program, we didn’t have it last year so the freshman and sophomores hadn’t gone through it,” said Morgan. “We play a lot, we play maybe 75 games and we practice a lot. It’s a big adjustment for the kids and for the parents–we had a productive Summer this year.”
The Rams have a pair of talented guards back as seniors in Sierra Hall and Amy Walker, and Morgan is expecting them to lead the way in her guard-dominant offense. Freshman Evelyn Sanchez will also contribute, as will junior Cristin Duncan.
The weapon for the Rams, though, is that they have something that’s increasingly rare in Long Beach and the Moore League–post players with experience. Allison Crawford is a 6’2” senior who’s been starting for the Rams for three years, and 6’ sophomore Emily Piper is back after seeing playing time as a freshman.
“We’ve got depth in the post, whether we want to play those two together or give them some rest and play one, that’s a real luxury,” said Morgan.
The Rams also have a quartet of freshmen and a trio of sophomores that Morgan expats to play, as she has a deep roster this year that she’s been able to develop with a full offseason.
“We’ve got a really balanced roster, and I’m excited that we’re going to have some freshmen getting minutes,” said Morgan. “It’s nice to have a year that resembles more of a normal season.”