Taking over a team that placed first in its division last season doesn’t make this season any easier, according to Los Altos High girls basketball coach Jaclyn Brode. It’s just the opposite.
“I think it’s tougher to defend the title than win the title,” she said, “but I still like our chances.”
The Eagles won’t have to contend with the team they shared the SCVAL El Camino Division championship with – rival Mountain View has been promoted to the De Anza Division – but there are other challenges.
Los Altos is learning a new system of offense (up-tempo) and defense (man-to-man) while adjusting to life without all-league guard Ideen Seyed, who graduated in June. Last season she totaled 325 points – 128 more than the Eagles’ second-highest scorer.
Replacing Seyed’s scoring will likely take a team effort. Not one of the Eagles’ six returnees averaged more than eight points per game and their top newcomer won’t be available until January.
“We’re missing that 3-point threat,” said Brode, whose team is off to a 2-3 start.
Meg Enthoven, who started as a freshman last year, will be counted on for scoring and rebounding. She grabbed double-digit rebounds in Los Altos’ first two games and scored a season-high 10 points in a loss to Willow Glen Dec. 3.
“She’s fearless around the rim,” Brode said of the 5-foot-8 Enthoven. “She worked on her guard skills over the summer and now feels stuck between a guard and a forward, and we’re asking her to do both. It’s a lot to ask, but the effort is there.”
Fellow sophomore Katie Munro – another returnee – “got a lot better over the summer,” according to Brode, who wants the guard to take more shots. Munro paced the Eagles with nine points in Thursday’s 46-15 rout of Prospect.
Los Altos has already benefited from the return of forward Meghan McDermott, who missed the first two games because she was part of a Los Altos volleyball team that reached the Northern California final. The 5-foot-9 senior scored a game-high 19 points in last week’s 54-33 setback to St. Francis.
“Meghan keeps improving and is one of our better players,” Brode said. “She knows how to get open in the low post.”
McDermott isn’t the only two-sport athlete on the squad. Junior Rebecca Andrews is on the soccer team, which has a similar season as basketball.
“Soccer is her top sport, so she makes it (to basketball) when she can,” Brode said. “She has excellent footwork and is a great defender.”
Andrews and senior Kelly Hamamoto handle the point-guard duties.
Brode hopes to gain more backcourt scoring when Allegra Maeso joins the team. Due to transfer rules, the sophomore won’t be eligible to play until Jan. 6 – the day before the league opener at Santa Clara.
Although Los Altos struggled against Maeso’s former school, St. Francis, Brode wasn’t completely discouraged by how her team played in the Dec. 10 home game.
“We lost to them by 54 last year,” said the coach, an Eagles assistant a season ago. “They are St. Francis. We just didn’t do things consistently enough to keep up with them. We gave up a lot of offensive boards – they were getting third, fourth and fifth shots – and you’re never going to win doing that.”
Los Altos is scheduled to visit Aptos 7 p.m. Saturday.
2013 girls basketball: St. Francis High School vs. Los Altos High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier