Introducing the Women’s Varsity Basketball Team


Shreya Jagannathan

The DVHS varsity women’s basketball team season starts on January 5, and until then, they practice and play for the pre-season.

Dougherty women’s basketball is back, and with new coaches, hard-working players, and a passion for the sport, they plan to crush their opponents and make it to the play-offs. In particular, the women’s varsity team practices five days a week, and attends games the other two.

The team faced new changes this year, along with new coaches, Treyvonna and Raven Brooks, who were also alumni of Dougherty Valley. The varsity team is composed of many players of all grades, in particular freshman point guard, Shalini Rajkumar and sophomore Erin Gardhere. 

With a new head and assistant Coach Treyvonna Brooks and Rayven Brooks, who are alumni of DVHS, tryouts quickly began, along with an open gym for players to come and practice. 

After a year with limited practice, the girls were eager to play and get back into the game. 

“Last year, with Covid, there were no cuts, so everyone made a team and we had only two teams last year. This year, we have three years and there were cuts so it was a lot more competitive this year.” Senior Co-captain shooting guard Rianne Misquita said. Along with the new coaches, the tryouts and practices become a lot more difficult, in order to make sure only the best and most committed players are chosen. 

As the girls got tryout results on Nov. 3rd, the varsity team was officially formed and practices began. When asked how the girls are preparing for the season, Trey explained that they are doing a lot of running, and lots of it. “[I want to just] Just challenge them, on all levels of basketball: physically, mentally, emotionally, making sure that they’re a team. We’re preparing them to battle together once we go against a really good team.” Trey mentioned.

Varsity basketball is composed of excellent teamwork and commitment by the players and coaches. Through the running of drills and hours together, the players have become very close. 

“Honestly, [the players are] all of our best friends. I love them very much.” Sophomore Erin Gardhere expressed.

Junior Co-captain point guard Ananya Shaligram also spoke about the team’s dynamic. “We are working together as a team more in practice, and we’re making sure to communicate. So that when the season comes, we’re a cohesive unit instead of all of us just running around and doing whatever we can.” The players also create a supportive atmosphere during practices. They cheer each other on while doing drills and high-five after making points. 

At the moment, the team’s main goal is to make it to the playoffs and win half of their games. “That’s always our goal. That’s always been our goal throughout our whole career is to make it to the top.” Trey said. Some of the methods she uses include “pushing them [the team] to their limit.” She explained her belief about getting out of your comfort zone, and once you do that, “nothing can stop you.” 

Nonetheless, the team still has a “long way to go,” according to Trey. They are focused on improving their defense and working on playing as a unit. At the moment Coach Trey says she relies mainly on sophomore center Nomen Iselen and junior point guard Ananya Shaligram.

“They are our biggest strength right now [Iselen and Shaligram], yeah those two together are like dynamite. Dynamite fuel right there. Her [Iselen], she’s vocal, you’ll see her leading when we’re down in score, and I mean leading in physicality, and Ananya’s chemistry together just flows.”

Regardless of each player’s individual strengths and weaknesses, the Coaches and the girls want to improve their teamwork.“[We want] to get better on defense and play as a unit. Because when we play zoner, it doesn’t matter what defense we’re in; everyone has to be in their spot and rotate. So we really focus on that.” Shaligram commented. Shaligram refers to zone-defense, a form of defense in which each player guards an allotted area of the court and guards any opponent that steps into the area.

Along with zone defense, the team is also working on finishing their shots. So, once they shoot a layup, they practice to make sure that they get the rebound if they miss and finish it completely. “We got a lot of new plays this season and with these new coaches, they have been working pretty well for us.” Misquita said. 

In terms of opponents, all of the players mentioned Cal high. “I’m really excited to play Cal high. I know a lot of people on that team and I’m really excited to beat them this year.” said Shaligram.

At the moment the girls are focusing on working cohesively when on the court. Freshman shooting guard, Shalini Rajkumar explains, “it feels like every single person on our team has one weakness, and if they can get past it, then like, we’ll be in a major team and I think we definitely have the potential to go to playoffs. And I think that as of now, we have the spirit and the talent to go to the playoffs.”

With their real basketball season starting Jan. 5, the players and coaches look forward to playing and winning.

Actually they’re [the team] more than what I expected. Leaving Dougherty valley, we left it with not a lot of talent. So coming back after so many years and seeing the amount of talent that we have on this team, I’m excited.” Trey said.