After a tumultuous pandemic season, Long Beach is prepping for a high school girls’ basketball season that looks a little bit more like normal. Every coach we spoke with talked about how significant it was to have a full summer and fall offseason, and optimism is running high.
Three Long Beach teams made the preseason CIF Southern Section watchlist, with Poly (Division 1), Millikan (2AA), and Cabrillo (4A) all drawing early interest.
After a 4-10 season that saw the Lancers finish fourth in the Moore League, head coach Eric Oswell is excited for this season, and to have a young core of talent to build around for the future.
“I’m happy to have had an offseason to prepare this year, and excited to see what this year’s team is made of,” he said. “We have some veteran leadership and some young hungry talent.”
The Lancers feature a trio of freshmen expected to contribute right away in Nyemah King, Amy Rubio, and Devoni Ray. Sophomores Cristina Jones and Alyse Sims will also contribute, with senior captains Michelle Rosalez and Mialynn DeCastro leading the way.
Lakewood will get ready for the Moore League gauntlet by playing in the Downey Classic, the Covina Classic, and the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament.
Jordan is entering a new era with first-year coach Wesley Rosenbaum, a former LBCC player who launched his coaching career in Harlem. After moving back home to Southern California, he coached at Lincoln, where his program made a quarterfinal run.
“I’d been living in Long Beach because I love Long Beach, I always found myself coming back,” he said. “I was being patient to see if a position would ever open up, and when the Jordan job opened up last Summer I didn’t waste any time.”
Rosenblaum is hoping to build Jordan up through the nonleague schedule, where they’re off to a 2-0 start–but he’s also not promising pie in the sky results.
“We have to be transparent about where we’re at, Jordan hasn’t had a lot of success lately,” he said. “We have to build a mindset to work hard and have consistency.”
The Panthers look to Asia Edwards at point guard, a returning sophomore that Rosenblaum said has been putting in a lot of work. Jordan track athlete Kira Dubuisson didn’t play basketball last year, but she and twin sister Kiarra are both on the team, and competing hard. Ronsenblaum is also excited about Tarra Dozier, an athletic raw player who’s new to the game but picking it up fast.
It was a tough season for Cabrillo last year, as the Jaguars weren’t able to compete in the COVID-delayed 2020-21 girls’ basketball season. Head coach Alysia Gamboa has been doing her best to build the program while the Jags have gone nearly two years without a game.
“I’m really excited to get this season started,” said Gamboa. “I have a good group of girls that come ready to compete everyday. The Moore League is an extremely tough league to be in but I think we will come out with a couple wins they don’t expect us to come out with.”
The Jaguars have a veteran group with only one underclassman, freshman Alliyha Barredo. The leader for the Jags will be Kylah Sagale, a senior point guard who’s been waiting patiently for this season to arrive. Junior center Arianna Johnson will also be a major contributor.
“We want to make the playoffs for the first time in a long time,” said Gamboa.
The Jaguars are on the watchlist for the CIF-SS 4A Division, and could be headed for a historic season.