Sports

Fresh Faces on girls varsity

DEANA KAJMAKOVIC

STAFF WRITER

   It is no secret that this year’s freshman class mostly consists of new students from a variety of schools and backgrounds, each one of them having something to add to Pinewood’s diverse community. As the winter season approaches, Pinewood’s prized girls varsity basketball team is beginning to heat up their practices, and more and more people are itching to find out about the five freshman girls on varsity and how they will contribute
to the team.

   Meet freshman Hannah Jump: a talented shooting guard working hard to earn a lot of playing time this season. Jump began playing basketball in fifth grade, with a wide range of both National Junior Basketball and Amateur Athletic Union teams on her resume. Her most impressive achievement, however, is spending this past summer playing internationally for England’s U16 team. Jump believes that she and her fellow teammates together have a lot of talent and can potentially go very far
this season.

   The varsity team has welcomed another international player: freshman Klara Astrom. The guard moved to the United States from Sweden at age eight, and began playing basketball around that time. Astrom spent several years playing on the AAU team Palo Alto Midnight alongside fellow varsity players sophomore Stella and freshman Mele Kailahi, during which they placed 6th in a
national tournament.

   Astrom’s former teammate, Mele, is more than ready for the upcoming season. Although an unfortunate accident left her sister Stella with a torn ACL and meniscus, Mele is determined to prove herself on
the court.

   Another guard on the team is freshman Isabelle Chung, who has come far from her first season of basketball at Cupertino Hoops in 6th grade. Chung spent her middle school career playing for Kennedy Middle School and has experience with NJB and AAU teams. After joining varsity coach Doc Scheppler’s AAU team Fever this past spring, Chung decided to apply to Pinewood and is now excited to contribute to the varsity team.

   Chung has a good friend on the team — she and freshman Kaitlyn Leung played on the AAU team West Coast Xtreme together for the majority of their middle school basketball career. Also a guard, Leung has an impressive record with several championship titles in YMCA, Asian League, and her middle school league. Leung’s decision to join the Pinewood community was last-minute; she was formally accepted only days before this school year started. After being exposed to Pinewood past the application due date last spring, she talked to Scheppler about possibly attending the school, and the coach said he could “work his magic.” Sure enough, Leung has made her way onto the varsity roster and is eager to push herself this season. “The level of intensity is great,” Leung said. “It’s going to be one heck of a season.”

   What expectations does varsity coach Doc Scheppler have for the
new freshmen?

   “We’ve got a lot of good players, and it’s gonna be very competitive for playing time,” Scheppler said. “Can [the freshmen] adjust to playing a higher level of basketball for their age? Are they going to make the adjustment to the newfound discipline and commitment that they have to make? That’s gonna be a question.”

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