BRIGHTON -- Northglenn High School’s girls basketball coach, Gabriela Jimenez, knew that her opening round game at the first Nate Howard Memorial Basketball tournament was going to be tough, and she was right.
Pomona beat the Norse 49-13 Dec. 2 at Prairie View High School. Saleen James scored five of the Norse’s points. Dakota Chavez added four, including a 3-pointer. Miracle Alarid pulled down five rebounds.
Mia Lobato led the Panthers with 10 points. Celeste Florez added nine, and Kendra Ritzman tossed in seven.
“It was very tough. But we knew it was going to be tough going in,” said the second-year coach of the Norse. “A lot of our kids have not seen varsity level basketball or intense basketball. It’s a big learning curve, and it’s a lot of way fundamental stuff we have to do.”
On the other hand, Jimenez was glad the Norse had a chance to see that type of basketball up close.
“It’s good for them to see it and kind of sink or swim in the first game. Hopefully, they learn quickly,” Jimenez said. “It seemed like they got better in the second half, so I can’t complain. It’s a learning curve, but we’re trying to make steps, every minute, every quarter, every game.”
Of the 10 players on Northglenn’s roster, six are underclassmen.
“I start two freshmen,” Jimenez said. “Overall in the program, we have a lot of young kids. It’s our first year without COVID, so it’s the first coaching staff that gets a full load of freshmen. They want to learn, and half the battle is getting kids who want to be there. As long as they are motivated to learn, that’s what the coaches are here to do.”
Northglenn visits John F. Kennedy High School at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9.
“If we can keep and improving on those basic blocks, we’re going to be OK,” Jimenez said. “We’re going to struggle against those way better teams. We have a lot of kids who’ve never played. Where we’re at right now, we’re going to be OK.”
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