The Righetti girls basketball team persevered without all-everything senior Danita Estorga, who was out with an injury, for most of the PAC 8 League season and won the 2016 PAC 8 title with an unbeaten league campaign.
Estorga is at Biola University on a basketball scholarship now, but Righetti's other three top scorers from last year, current seniors Zane Sheckherd, Ashley Reynoso and junior Alijah Paquet, all return.
Thus, with Estorga gone, "It's not a huge transition we'll have to go through," said third-year Righetti coach Desiree Hitch.
"Hopefully we'll be OK in the scoring area."
The Warriors made it into the CIF Division 3 State Tournament last year. Righetti defeated Thousand Oaks in the first round of the Southern California Regional before losing to eventual state champion Fullerton Rosary Academy in the regional quarterfinals.
Hitch said she will have two capable point guards, veteran Dominique Garcia, who's a senior, and Mercedes Arredondo.
"Mercedes is a very talented sophomore," said Hitch.
Arredondo is one of three varsity sophomores who played on Righetti's 20-0 junior varsity as freshmen. Myshila Garcia and Micahela Garcia are the other two.
As for Sheckherd, she blossomed into an all-around talent who was one of the top players in the PAC 8 last year.
"Zane is a shooting guard who can also be someone on the wing, and someone who can attack the basket," said Hitch. "She can just kind of do everything."
The Warriors have six returnees, including Sheckherd, Reynoso, Paquet, Dominique Garcia, center Kendall Bagby and guard Samra Cano.
"We're really young, but we have a lot of talent," said Hitch. "The girls who are new to the team I think are more athletic than last year's team.
"I think we'll be competitive. I have all the pieces again to have a successful season. The girls are working hard, they're coming along. We have really good leadership from the returners."
The Warriors figure to play fast on both ends of the ball once again. Hitch's teams like to press on defense.
Righetti will open against San Marcos at the Gold Coast Classic at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at San Marcos High School.
Warriors in their third year in the Rivas era
Former Righetti basketball star Jeremiah Rivas is in his third season as the coach of his alma mater's team.
The Warriors opened Rivas' third campaign with a 70-65 loss at home to traditionally tough Santa Barbara Nov. 21. They squared their record with a 45-39 win over Lompoc four days later. Rivas' squad stands at 1-1.
Righetti improved markedly last year from Rivas' first season at the helm. The Warriors went 13-14, including 7-7 in the PAC 8 League, and earned an at-large berth into the playoffs.
Righetti went 10-17, 5-9 in Rivas' first year as coach.
Point guard Anthony Rodriguez returns from last season, and he led Righetti's scoring against Santa Barbara with 22 points.
Weston Hammell played for Righetti's 2017 baseball team that made it into the championship game of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Playoffs. He is also a returner for the basketball team. Hammell scored 19 points against Santa Barbara.
Newcomer Caleb Thomas was a two-way star for the 2017 football team that got an at-large berth into the playoffs. He scored 10 points in Righetti's season basketball opener.
Righetti played at a fast pace on both ends of the ball when Rivas played there, the Warriors played at a fast pace during Rivas' first two seasons as coach and they figure to play at a fast pace for the rest of this season.
The Warriors have seven returnees from last year, including Adrian and Domingo Rodriguez, Hammell, Jalen Davis, Jacob Solano, Kobe Holford and Ian Tetley.
Righetti will play its first-round game in the Riordan Crusader Classic in San Francisco at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Berkeley.
Righetti lost to Santa Barbara and defeated Lompoc in the Central Coast Classic. After the Warriors return from the Riordan tourney they will resume CCC play with a home game against San Marcos Dec. 7, and games at St. Bonaventure Dec. 7 and Dos Pueblos Dec. 15.
The Warriors will host Arroyo Grande at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 in their PAC 8 League opener.