Pinewood was supposed to take a step back this season after the departure of Hannah Jump and Klara Astrom to graduation.
Coach Doc Scheppler begs to differ.
“We’re going to be better than last year.’’ he said, before, during and after his team romped to an 83-42 win Tuesday over Alameda in Pinewood’s home opener.
A pretty bold statement considering the Panthers won the Northern California Open Division championship in each of the last two seasons.
“We’re a little more athletic,’’ Scheppler said. “These girls play hard. That’s the joy of coaching them. They want to be great.’’
It’s certainly a different style of play. Instead of the 3-point barrage Pinewood (3-0) has been known for over the years, the team shot just 7 of 28 from 3-point range Tuesday.
“We shoot 3s much better than that in practice,’’ Scheppler said.
And they went only 2 of 6 on the foul line. The other 60 points the team scored came on 30 2-point field goals.
“Those 2s were mostly all finishes,’’ Scheppler said. “That’s what we practice every day. I think of it like a golfer working on his short game.’’
In addition to being more athletic, the team is also deeper and better suited to apply defensive pressure. Pinewood picked up in full-court man and Alameda, which came in 4-0 and wanted to play at the fast tempo that had been successful in previous games, committed 37 turnovers.
“They hadn’t seen pressure like that,’’ Scheppler said.
Last season Jump and Astrom each averaged 16 points per game. On Tuesday Courtni Thompson scored a team-high 12 and Una Jovanovic had 10. But all 10 players scored between 6 and 12. A different way of getting it done.
So there’s a definite Mark Twain thing going on: Reports of Pinewood’s death are greatly exaggerated. Just take a look at the T-shirts Scheppler had made up:
2018 NorCal Open Division Champions
2019 NorCal Open Division Champions
2020? Nobody Knows …… Just Us