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Photo by David Pardo
The Lady Bulldogs' Jannon Otto (14) drives up the center as Barstow's Tiare Alefaio (50) defends during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game at the Oak Hills Tournament.

Lady Aztec hoopsters back on the court

BARSTOW • The Barstow girls basketball team is another squad with a new coach this fall, and another that intends to make its mark.


The Lady Aztec hoopsters have been in the mix in the Desert Sky League the past couple of years, playing to a 12-12 record in both. The last winning season was in ‘09-10, when Barstow posted an impressive 24-4 record, after going 20-5 the previous year.


So it’s a team that’s done its share of winning, but would like to rise above .500 again and make some noise in the postseason. Helping the players to achieve that goal is new coach Jerry Enriquez, who returns as skipper along with Derrick Delton. The pair coached together until the ‘10-11 season. Enriquez retired as coach after that and Delton is now the principal of Barstow High School.


When it came time for a new coach for the team, their record of success was an attractive feature.


“The school asked us to come back, and I really missed it,” said Enriquez this week. “I’m pretty excited to be back.”


The Lady Aztecs’ first game last week against Big Bear was cancelled, giving them some extra time to practice and come together. One thing Enriquez stresses as a coach is conditioning, and the girls have been doing more drills than usual.


“I do a lot of running, and I don’t think the girls were used to that,” he said. “But I told them from the get-go that I have an uptempo style.”


There are 12 players on the Lady Aztecs’ roster this year, including returnees Maxine Cooks, Jasmine Green, Vasa Alefaio, Marion Mims, and Tiare Alefaio. The rest of the team is Cheree Tucker, Harley Carter, Morgan Alfred, Elisha Garrett, Devanyce Tucker, Kamrien Proctor, and Alissa Parks.


As for the DSL, Silverado is the reigning league champ, after going 12-0 last year, while Burroughs came in second at 9-3.


“Silverado lost a few players, so we’ll have to see what they’re like. I think Victor Valley should be strong, and Burroughs,” said Enriquez. “I think we’ll be right in the mix. The girls are buying into the new system and style. I think we’ll be just fine.”


The Lady Aztecs got their season underway Wednesday afternoon in the Oak Hills Tournament. They’ll see several teams over the next three days, with the tourney wrapping up on Saturday.


It was a rough way to get things started, as Barstow faced the host team Lady Bulldogs in the opening game. Hills has a couple of big offensive threats this year, and played to a 79-22 win.


The visitors stayed with their competition through one quarter, leading for the first few minutes. The Bulldogs had taken a 12-5 lead by quarter’s end, however, and kept widening that lead. The Bulldogs’ best quarter was the third, when they outscored the Aztecs, 34-3.


“It was a good learning experience for us, but we quit, we gave up,” said coach Enriquez. “They just outplayed us and outhustled us.”


Oak Hills junior Jannon Otto and senior Bry Lopez combined to more than double what Barstow scored as a team. Otto finished with 30 points, and Lopez with 21.


Green led the Lady Aztecs with seven points, with Proctor netting four.


While the match didn’t go the way he was hoping, Enriquez isn’t discouraged.


“We’ll be alright. We played with them when we played, but once they took over, we really quit,” said the coach. “It was a wake-up call we needed. I’m not worried, it’s just the first game of the season.”


The Lady Aztecs continue tourney play today with a game against Lancaster at 2:30 p.m. The team won’t be at home until next year, opening its home schedule against Silverado on Jan. 7.


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