Retano earns first team honor for CHS
The Culver girls basketball team just fell short of making the postseason this year. They finished the season with 14-9 overall record and a 6-8 Tri-River Conference record.
The girls started the year with dominance and a 10-1 record, but had a mix between injuries and a tough league that saw the Lady Dawgs finish 5-8 over their last 13 games and fall just short of the league playoffs.
Three seniors earned league honors this year.
Irma Retano had another phenomenal year, earning first team all-league honors. She ended the year averaging 19.5 points, 11 rebounds and 7.9 steals per game, while shooting 41.6 percent from the field.
"Irma is a two-time player of the year and has been dominating games for three years," head coach Scott Fritz said. "She holds two school records for steals and set the record for most 3-pointers made in a single game with six. She has given 100 percent effort for four years and is very deserving."
"Until this year, we wouldn't let her shoot from outside," he said. "Last spring she decided she wanted to go for a basketball scholarship and we went to work developing her shot and improving her ball handling, three days a week all summer and two days a week during volleyball season."
"She developed into a great shooter, made a couple NBA range 3's," Fritz said. "Since her freshman year, she has texted me after games asking how many rebounds and steals she had, never asked about points. Most importantly, she's a great, kind kid who I'm proud to call a 'Pal', which is another story. She is going to go on and have a great college basketball career."
Point guard Mia Gamboa became a general and leader on the floor, earning second team all-league honors. Gamboa ended the year with a 9.7 points per game and 2.8 steals per game average.
"Mia has been in the gym since fifth grade, attending our twice-a-week open gyms in the fall and I knew she was going to be a great player," said Fritz. "She has a love for the game and has that fight in her to compete. She really became the floor leader for the team this year and took on the role of instructing the younger players both in games and practice."
"Mia really stepped up her scoring when Irma was slowed by injury and guarded the other team's best guard," he said. "I'm most proud of the maturity she showed this season and she'll be a lifelong friend."
Mikayla Haessler was another senior who started this year, earning honorable mention all-league honors. She averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 steals a game.
"Mikayla gave us four years of unbelievable effort and a great positive attitude," Fritz said. "She was typically tasked this season with guarding other team's most athletic, bigger players and did a great job. She was at her best out in transition, which was fun to watch. Mikayla was struggling from the high post for a time and she went off by herself in the other gym and worked on the various shots she could get from that position. Probably getting up over 200 shots. The last game was probably her best of the year. Her spunkiness will be missed."
Finishing in fifth in the conference, the Lady Dawgs could only nominate three athletes for league honors, but coach Fritz thought senior Nena Mendoza was right in there to earn a league honor.
"We didn't have enough all-league spots for Nena but I'd like to mention her if I could," he said. "She did it right! Her junior year she didn't get a lot of playing time the second half of the season, but she never complained and continued to work hard in practice, with a great attitude." "When she got her shot this year she took full advantage of it, having a great season and becoming a team leader the second half of the season," he said. "We were so impressed, we made her a team captain during the season, which I've never done. Her season ended early with injury and I believe it affected us more that we realized. I'm really proud of her."
This was head coach Scott Fritz's last year coaching the Culver Bulldogs. After 10 years developing and improving the program, he has decided to hang up his coaching hat.