The Pioneer Valley girls basketball team finished 3-22, including 0-14 in the PAC 8 League, last season. However, the Panthers have some 2018 summer success to build off of for THIS season.
"We finished second in the St. Joseph Summer League," said second-year Pioneer Valley coach Mike Bloodworth.
The Panthers have a seasoned guard, Ravynn Anielski. The junior averaged 10.5 points a game for Pioneer Valley last season.
Pioneer Valley is in the CIF Central Section this season after moving there from the CIF Southern Section earlier in the year, as did most of the area sports programs.
Besides Anielski, the Panthers have three other returning regulars from last season, all juniors. They are Aalyah Moreno, Valerie Nol and Letty Medina.
This season, "Ravynn is a shooting guard, and Aalyah is at the point," said Bloodworth.
"Valerie is a forward, and Letty is a guard-forward."
Moreno averaged 8.6 points a game last season, second on the team behind Anielski.
Bloodworth is starting a freshman this year, Chyanna Medina-Tell who is a guard.
Pioneer Valley is off to a 1-3 start, with a win over St. Joseph after three fairly competitive losses.
At press time, Medina Tell led the team in scoring at 16.3 points a game. Anielski was second at 14 and Moreno was third at 10.7.
Besides the four returners who start, Bloodworth's other returners, senior guard-forward Brianna Robles and sophomore forward Rachel Ramos, are in his rotation.
"Brianna is our first player off the bench," he said.
"We're ahead of where we were at this point last year because we're more experienced," Bloodworth said before the season.
On offense, "We'll still play a transition offense," Pioneer Valley's coach said. The Panthers' looks on offense "will depend on the game situation," Bloodworth said.
"On defense, I'll mix it up. We'll play some zone, some man-to-man."
The Panthers haven't been particularly tall. They have depended on their quickness. Their lack of height has hurt them in the rebounding department early. At press time, Ramos, at 5.3 rebounds a game, was the team's leading rebounder.
Pioneer Valley will play in the inaugural Ocean League this season along with Templeton, Orcutt Academy, Nipomo, Santa Maria, Morro Bay and Atascadero.
All except Atascadero played in the smaller Los Padres League last season. Atascadero played in the PAC 8.
Unlike the Southern Section, any Central Section team that does not win a league championship can petition to get into the playoffs.
The Panthers are in the Central Section's Division II. At press time, there were 19 Division II girls basketball teams and 16 Division II playoff slots.
Pioneer Valley will play in the Tulare Tournament Dec. 27-29 before opening league play at home against Santa Maria Jan. 4.