The Half Moon Bay High School girls varsity basketball team is moving in the right direction. That’s head coach Antonio Veloso’s take as the season moves into 2019.

The early part of the game schedule crumbled due to constant rescheduling because of the poor air quality. Normally, at this point in the season, the team would have fallen into a rhythm. However, this year, the girls are still finding their stride. 

“The start of the season has been different from others,” said Veloso. “We had one school reschedule twice. Because of the fires, we’d had games, two scrimmage games, and a foundation game canceled. 

“That’s the catchup process,” he continued. “You get the flow. We haven’t had that flow. It was just nice to see that our girls could bring it, specifically on (Dec. 28).” 

After Christmas, the girls packed their bags and headed up to their winter overnight tournament at Casa Robles High School in Sacramento. It was while playing in the state capital, that the girls found their game. Beyond the basketball repetitions, the girls continued to gel as a team.  “They sing, they laugh, when you’re driving them around, you hear conversations in the back,” said Veloso. “Those are pretty good conversations.”

The winning ways continued on Friday, when the Cougars beat Mercy-San Francisco, 54-43. Half Moon Bay used a 30-3 run in the second and third quarters to salt the game away. An aggressive defense that led to Mercy turnovers was the difference.

Freshman Abby Kennedy had 21 points and senior Mailie Bowers added 17 for Half Moon Bay.

As the team comes together, the biggest opportunity for improvement is how to play with intensity while staying out of foul trouble. 

“I think it’s our style of play,” said Veloso. “We’re aggressive and we’re learning that aggression has to be pulled back at times. 

“The girls have to learn how to play with three fouls, four fouls,” he continued. “If you have four fouls, you might pull back a little bit.” 

Veloso is confident that as the season progresses the girls will learn that lesson. He’s also pleased with the way the girls are playing off of the bench.  “Our eighth, ninth, and 10th kid all did something (at the Casa Robles tournament) to show that one, they belong, and two, that they have it in them,” he said. “They just need to be a little more consistent.”

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