It was a tough night for the Kingsburg girls basketball team, as the Vikings struggled in a 60-20 loss to Clovis High School at home on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
Also, the girls loss 59-47 to Exeter on the road two days later, which has Kingsburg’s record at 5-10 overall and 0-1 in Central Sequoia League play. Dating back to Dec. 28, the girls have lost six of the past seven games.
When the game with Clovis was scheduled, Vikings’ head coach Mark Willis was hoping his team would be at full-strength, which has yet to happen due to players suffering multiple injuries this season.
“When I set this game up, I was hoping we were going to have everybody back ready to play,” Willis said. “[We wanted] to give them a good challenge, but if you don’t have everybody, it’s going to be tough competition against that school.”
For Kingsburg, Emily Fuentes return to game action for the first time since December 2016 when she tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) that ended her sophomore season. The junior didn’t score any points in her return, but Willis said having Fuentes back in the lineup is “comforting.”
“I know when she’s got the ball in her hands, she makes good decisions, she doesn’t force anything,” Willis said. “This is her first night back and she’s missed over 40 games. She’s rusty, I don’t think she hit a shot tonight [against Clovis], but it’s going to change the chemistry of our team once she gets settled in.”
The road game against Exeter was the start of the CSL season for both teams.
In the game, the Vikings couldn’t get anything going against the Monarchs, as Exeter jumped to a 21-9 lead in the first quarter. The Monarchs’ first quarter lead would be significant, as Kingsburg was only outscored once for the rest of the game.
“It’s always a battle in Exeter,” Willis said before the matchup. “I think we’ll compete really well against them. It’s not going to be easy. All the games on the road in this league are pretty tough.”
The CSL looks to be competitive this season, as every team except for Kingsburg is over .500.
Also, four of the six teams have double-digit win totals this year.
Willis doesn’t think the Vikings should be counted out of competing for a league title or a playoff berth once the CSL schedule gets going.
“I think we can challenge for a league title, if we could get this group together and playing where they need to be,” he said. “We have enough talent. We just got to put it together now.”
With a slow start to the season, Willis said it’s now the time to start fast in every game for the rest of the season.
“I think the league is very competitive and I think we’re going to be right in the middle of everything,” Willis said. “It’s just can we get the gate quick enough here based on who’ve we been and who we have back now. Can we get going?”
Next up for Kingsburg is an away matchup against Dinuba (15-4, 1-0 in CSL). Dinuba is on a five-game winning streak. The season series was split 1-1 between both schools last season. The Vikings will be back at home against Central Valley Christian on Jan. 19.