Mingus girls basketball starting up
Marauders hope what is done in summer translates into fall regular season
COTTONWOOD-- Mingus Union High school girls basketball season won't officially start until November.
But, the Marauders have been already getting things going with offseason summer practice and tournaments.
Head coach Dave Moncibaez said the team is doing a little bit of everything.
"We practice, condition, just get a better feel for offense and defense," Moncibaez said. "Just getting these girls ready for the season pretty much now."
The past few years haven't been kind to Mingus girls basketball. The program hasn't made the playoffs since 2009.Last year the team finished the season 6-19 overall.
With so time before the start of the season, Moncibaez said he just wants the players to get back into the swing of basketball.
"Just for them to keep playing," he said. "Just keep that mentality, that hard work, keeping them busy, so they're not at home doing nothing."
The Marauders have been practicing since the end of school.
This weekend the Marauders will play a tournament in San Diego. The name of the tournament is Point Loma Summer Slam. It will be at Point Loma University.
Moncibaez said this tournament will be a good test for the team at this point in the offseason.
"It's a fun time, good tournament, at the same time you're still playing the game and come season hopefully we're just tweaking what we did over summer," he said.
Last year Mingus had to get rid of the freshman girls basketball team middle of the season because of small numbers. With eight incoming freshmen playing this summer, Moncibaez said he's hopeful the program can come back.
"I'm wanting to bring it back," he said. "I think we'll have the numbers next year. It's probably the highest freshmen turnout that we've had. I know there are big groups coming. I've talked to the local schools. I'm pretty optimistic about having our freshmen program back."
Moncibaez said he's looking forward to taking his team to San Diego.
"It's kind of a reward for their hard work they put in during the season," he said. "It's a great time for the girls to bond and know each other at a friendship level instead of just during basketball season. It brings all these young girls out to play."
The tournament games will be played Friday Saturday and Sunday. Earlier this offseason, the Marauders played in a tournament at Raymond S. Kellis high school in Glendale.
"We were pretty competitive there," he said. "We also played in Camp Verde and then we played in Sedona."
Next Wednesday, the Marauders will play at home. The other teams will be Camp Verde, Wickenburg, Mayor, Sedona and possibly Payson high schools.
While Moncibaez wants as many players in the summer as possible, he said any player who didn't play in the summer can come out in the fall.
"We want as many girls playing as much as possible," he said. "We want them to be in basketball shape. We understand summers are hard for some of them to come out. I'm very pleased with what we have in the summer. I think our numbers have been higher than they have been in the past. It's great to see these girls competing still, working hard and taking it very serious. I'm very proud of that."
Moncibaez said he can already see some of the strengths and weakness of his team.
"We're quick," he said. "We still need to take care of the ball and limit the turnovers. But, we're quicker than we have been in years. We're still young. We're very guard heavy and we're going to use that to our advantage to hopefully pull away\ in some of these games and out run some of our opponents."
The Marauders are only losing two seniors from last year's team. Those are guards Kylie Streck and Angelina Razo.
"We definitely lose that leadership from both of those seniors," he said. "Kylie was very aware of where the ball was going to be. Angelina had good outside shooting. To replace them, they're going to be tough to replace. We just have to keep moving forward and keep getting better. Just keep putting up the shots in practice."
Moncibaez said some players to watch this year as seniors will be Vivian Koeppe, Sharon Rehborg and Lisa Jaimes.
"Vivian is such a hard worker on defense," he said. "She's come such a long way since her freshman year. Sharon has that mentality to be a top scorer. Lisa is just so quick on defense. She's so quick she can pretty much take anyone off the dribble. We just need to finish and make good choices and not throw the ball away."
Moncibaez is hoping his more experienced players can help out with the team being so young.
Koeppe will be important for the Marauders this year. Koeppe said so far she likes what she sees.
"I think we're a great team," she said. "We work really well together. We're a very quick team. We have a lot of potential to make a lot of shots and just run the other team down."
Koeppe agrees with Moncibaez that it's great so many players have come out this summer.
She added she thinks it says a lot about the team.
"I think it shows we have a lot of players who are very dedicated and want to play basketball," she said. "We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we have a very young team. We can really incorporate them into the program so that by their senior year, it will be really good."
Follow Sports Reporter Derek Evans on Twitter @DerekEvans20.