Ladies Basketball ‘In the Spotlight’

LaShawn Encarnacion

The 2012-2013 Lady Knights basketball squad started the season with everyone new and fresh, including their Head Coach, First year at the collegiate level, Andrea Aguilar.

Known as “Coach Dre,” she finished her first season with a victory and with high hopes that next season will bring even more success.

A local, South Bay native. She attended and played for Eastlake High School. She then played for Southwestern College where she received California Junior College Scores Player of the Week and Pacific Coast Conference Athlete of the Week.

After red-shirting a year at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Aguilar returned to Chula Vista to teach in the SUHSD. She began coaching girls basketball at her alma mater, Eastlake High, as the Head Jr. Varsity Coach and an assistant to the Varsity team. From 2009-11, she was the Head Women’s Varsity Basketball Coach at Olympian High School. All three years, her teams made it to the CIF post season, culminating in 2011 with a trip to the quarterfinals.

“As a Head Coach, you always want more. Our goals as a team this year was to make a name for ourselves. Unfortunately the ladies basketball program is a little shy and this year we just wanted to make a noticeable impact, Coach Dre said.”

The team made third place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, the best finish in recent memory, she said. A definite high point for Coach Dre was winning the San Diego City College Ladies Basketball tournament, which was played at home this year.

“This year was all about starting over. Many new young ladies, new coaches and a new system. We take it step by step to reach each milestone together. Then ask, what is next? … We move onto the next goal,” Coach Dre said.

The development of a team, especially a young and diverse one, can be challenging. However Coach Dre pushed the right buttons both on and off the coach has an open door for her players for anything from school life to personal life while reinforcing the importance of being a “student-athlete.”

“In the beginning it was challenging since we had never played together but as the season continued and we got to know each other on and off the court, it developed our chemistry during the season and with the relationships off the court strong, that made the on the court play that much better,” Diana Leaseu said, commenting on the development of chemistry of the team both on and off the field.

With a long off season and then during the season, there are times it can at times be a little overwhelming and stressful. Little side games and treats are needed to help liven up and relax the locker room and the gym.

“Pizza, Coach Dre always brought us pizza, Shamonique Malone-Boyd and Leaseu chimed in together.”

“Communication games, games without the basketball made it fun and it also developed that close family-like bond between us on the court Malone-Boyd said. The time we pent together on and off the court, hanging out, working on our studies together, brought us together so that we could accomplish what we did this season.”

With all but two ladies returning and incoming recruits next fall, the Lady Knights are primed to make some serious noise in the 2013-2014 season and in the PCAC. Coach Dre has visions of bringing the ladies basketball program into the main spotlight and bring City College a championship.