Ryan Donnelly, third-year head coach of Central Valley High School’s girls basketball team, had high hopes heading into the 2022-23 season.
Roster changes due to injuries and other reasons combined with offensive struggles prevented the Hawks from realizing their potential this winter.
Central Valley amassed a 1-24 overall record and finished in last place in the Central California Conference standings with an 0-12 mark.
The Hawks notched their lone victory against 10-18 Stone Ridge Christian. Central Valley won, 39-36.
Central Valley lost its final 23 games.
“The girls had a positive mindset,” Donnelly said. “They were motivated to practice and play hard and get better. The effort was always there. It was tough so see us not get wins. They were still excited to play no matter how many losses we took.”
Central Valley averaged just 22 points per game this season.
The Hawks were outscored 1,281-548 on the year.
Central Valley will continue to struggle moving forward if it doesn’t improve its shooting percentage and cut down its turnovers.
“That’s our focus going into next season,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly believes Central Valley is headed in the right direction.
The Hawks will lose seven players to graduation, including Alexie Alvarez, Monserrat Cardenas, Alondra Carrillo, Makayla Dennison, Janessa Godinez, Analy Gomez and Delia Vidal.
Alexa Alberta (Jr.), Jennifer Mejia (Jr.), Jannet Valencia (Jr.), Marion Dennison (So.), Julyanna Valencia (So.) and Aaliyah Jauregui (Fr.) could return to the next winter.
“I’m excited for the future. We have a good, young core. They’re very committed. They work hard and want to get better.”Coach Ryan Donnelly
“I’m excited for the future,” Donnelly said. “We have a good, young core. They’re very committed. They work hard and want to get better.”
“We also have a couple junior-varsity kids we’ll bring up to help us the next few years.”
Donnelly knew it would be a challenge rebuilding Central Valley’s girls basketball program.
The Hawks had a combined record of 5-60 the three seasons before Donnelly was promoted to head coach.
Central Valley made its last playoff appearance in 2016-17. The Hawks went 11-13 record and took second in the Western Athletic Conference (7-3).
Central Valley finished 5-23 and last in the CCC standings (1-11) in 2021-22.
The Hawks dropped all eight of their games during the 2020-21 COVID-shortened season.
“I enjoy being around the team,” Donnelly said. “It’s going to take some time to build the program. It doesn’t matter what we did in the past. What matters is what’s going to happen.”
Central Valley will spend one more season in the CCC before moving to the WAC as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s league realignment plan.
“It will be good for the school,” he said. “That will allow us to be more competitive. We should take a jump in the next few years.”