121516 Lompoc vs Orcutt Girls BBall 09.jpg

Orcutt's Grace Weaver, left, and Lompoc's Shy Kendrick go after a loose ball during the a game at Lakeview Junior High last season. Kendrick is now VCA's leading scorer and rebounder.

Frank Cowan, Contributor

The numbers, at least in terms of players, have improved for veteran Valley Christian Academy girls basketball coach Randy Stanford.

Stanford is hoping the improved numbers translate to an improved record for his team. The Lions, who have won many Coast Valley League championships, went an unaccustomed 3-14, 1-9 last year.

The Lions are 1-1 this year.  Junior Shy Kendrick leads them in scoring (12.5 points a game) and rebounding (7.5 rebounds a game). 

With multiple projected starters out before the start of the year for unspecified reasons, the Lions carried seven players last year. They will carry 11 this year.

Four of those 11 are returners. They include sophomore Heather Knutson, who Stanford said will play at a guard spot this year, senior center Ciera Salee, junior guard Mayley DeBernardi and guard Dominique Navarette.

"We're a little young, a little inexperienced, but we're pretty athletic," said Stanford.

Newbies figure to bolster Stanford's team this year. Shy Kendrick, a 6-foot junior guard, is a transfer from Lompoc High School and a team captain.

Grace Cose, a 5-9 sophomore, "just moved back to Missouri," said Stanford. Both figure to be key members of Stanford's rotation.

Stanford said Navarette and Savannah Trenkle, a 5-9 junior center, figure to be his first players off the bench this season.

With some more players this year, Stanford is hoping for more scoring punch. DeBernardi, at a little more than six points a game, was his leading scorer last year.

"We like to run and put it up, and that's what we hope to do," said Stanford. "I think we have good enough athletes to be able to do that this year.

"We're hoping to use a trapping defense again." The defensive trap was a big reason VCA won CIF Southern Section divisional titles in 2005, 2006 and 2014.

The Lions have some decent height. Besides Kendrick, Cose and Trenkle, Salee is 5-9.

Coast Union went 10-0 in the CVL last year and won the league championship. Coastal Christian was the league runner-up at 8-2.

"They should be strong again this year," said Stanford. "They both have a lot of players coming back."

VCA will open at home at 5 p.m. Nov. 28 against Santa Barbara Providence.

Pioneer Valley girls basketball

The Panthers are 1-4 under new coach Michael Bloodworth. Bloodworth took over for Brandi Carney, who stepped down in April.

Pioneer Valley has just two seniors, Zury Martinez and Elisa Cano. A sophomore who was a team leader as a freshman last year, Ravynn Anielski, is the team captain this year.

She is the team's leading scorer so far, at 7.4 points a game. Another sophomore returner, Aallyah Moreno, is second on the team in scoring at 7.2 points a game.

Pioneer Valley's win came over Bakersfield Mira Monte, 48-31, in the San Luis Obispo Holiday Tournament at San Luis Obispo High School.

The Panthers have five juniors on the their roster, including Letty Medina, Brianna Robles, Dolys Liendo, Morgan Krause and Kristiana Valdez.

The sophomores are Anielski, Moreno and Veleria Nol. The lone freshman is Anaya Yebra.

The Panthers are scheduled to play in the Tulare Mid-Winter Showcase Dec. 28-30. They will start PAC 8 League play at home against Mission Prep Jan. 3. 

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Sports Reporter