27th Annual “Grizzly Classic” Girls Basketball Tournament


Ashley Chan, Staff Writer

The Arcadia High School (AHS) Girls Varsity Basketball team participated in the 27th annual “Grizzly Classic” basketball tournament that took place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. This tournament was hosted by the Calvary Chapel Christian School and a total of eight teams participated: Arcadia, Calvary Chapel Downey, Colony, El Rancho, Lawndale, Mesrobian, Santiago/Garden Grove, and Vista Mar.

The schools were divided into two groups for the tournament: Pool A and Pool B. The AHS Basketball team was a part of Pool A along with Calvary Chapel Downey, Mesrobian, and El Rancho. The AHS team played against El Rancho on Nov. 29, Calvary Chapel Downey on Nov. 30, Mesrobian on Dec. 2, and Lawndale from Pool B on Dec. 3.

The AHS Girls Basketball team prepared thoroughly in advance for the tournament.

Junior Co-Captain Cayla Shyu stated, “Because of the days off we had for the holidays, the coaches dedicated a practice or two to extra conditioning to make sure we were mentally and physically prepared for how taxing 5 games in 5 days would be. We did one and a half minute circuits of box jump burpees, ropes, throwing the heavy ball across the court and back, Russian twists with a heavy ball, and much more.”

Starting off the tournament strong, the AHS team won against El Rancho by a score of 64-27. Lead scorers from AHS included freshman Lexi Mercado with 14 points, freshman Shirley Freeman with 12 points, and sophomore Shelby Chung with six points. Mercado had an especially impressive game with her as the leading scorer, with five defensive rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

The next game on Nov. 30 was one of the most outstanding performances by the girls in this tournament. The Calvary Chapel team lost to AHS by a score of 61-9. Lead scorers in this particular game consisted of junior Co-Captain Melodie Manell with 14 points, senior Lana Troung with 11 points, and Freeman with nine points. Freeman also had four offensive rebounds and one defensive rebound, while freshman Jessica Jiang had two offensive rebounds and two defensive rebounds. Truong had the highest number of assists with a total of four, and also had two steals. Jiang had the second highest number of assists with three in total, and made two steals as well. Manell had one assist, and four steals, the highest number of steals recorded in this game.

With a score of 88-13, the Apaches took another win in the tournament against Mesrobian. In this game, every single one of the girls scored, with high scorers including Freeman with 13 points, Truong with nine points, junior Keanna Luu with nine points, Mercado with nine points, and Jiang with eight points. Freshman Samantha Pape, Luu, and Mercado each had a total of four rebounds, and Freeman and Truong both had three total rebounds each. Truong played incredibly well offensively, with six assists and three steals.

Unfortunately, AHS did not win their very last game on Dec. 3 against Lawndale. AHS lost by a score of 60-57, only a three point difference. The lead scorers were Mercado with 16 points, Truong with 12 points, and Manell with 11 points. Mercado had one offensive rebound, five defensive rebounds, one assist, and two steals; Jiang had two offensive rebounds, three defensive rebounds, and one steal; Freeman had one offensive rebound, two defensive rebounds, one assist, and one steal; Truong had one defensive rebound, four assists, and five steals; Manell had one offensive rebound, one defensive rebound, and three steals; Junior Jessica Goto had two defensive rebounds and one steal. Although AHS did not come out on top, it was a great experience for the girls on the team!

Mercado claimed, “I feel as a team for the first few games we were doing a great job sharing the ball. Everyone was scoring and we looked good. I do think that personally, during the tournament, I had a rough start but we as a team pushed through it and we started to get back into the game. We started to fix our mistakes and almost came back. We lost because of little things like fouls, missed free throws, and boxing out, but that is something we can work on as a team as the season goes on.”

Manell stated, “I felt like we worked hard to get 3 out of the 4 tournament wins. Throughout the whole tournament we worked together as a team and I think that that made the difference. We are a very young team, having five freshmen and 10 seasoned players, and we will have a few years to get better and stronger together. I think in the future, the Apaches will be a team to be reckoned with.”

Coach Conover, head coach of the AHS Girls Basketball team, remarked, “I felt like we did well, five games in five days was tough (one league game in the middle of tournament play) on the girls mentally and physically. Finishing the tournament 3-1 was nice, but the two things we really struggled on were our free throws and our interior defense and rebounding. We have to get better at that if we want to go further this year.”

Great work to the AHS Girls Basketball team; good luck on your upcoming games!


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