SELMA — It was an historic night at Selma High School as head coach Paul Romig reached 500 career wins after the girls basketball team defeated Exeter 64-44 on Jan. 19.
“It’s been quite a journey,” Romig said about the milestone. “I’m blessed with all the people that have been a part of that [journey] for the last 28 years [including] players, coaches, administrators, family members and so it’s been quite a journey that’s been special.”
Romig has been the Bears’ coach since the 2008-09 season and has a 188-100 record during his tenure at Selma High School.
Since Romig has been the coach at Selma, the Bears have appeared in the playoffs in seven of the past nine years. The Bears also made back-to-back appearances in the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Div. III championship in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Selma has also won three Central Sequoia League titles during Romig’s tenure.
“I’m really happy to do it with this team because I love this team,” Romig said. “They’re special in many ways and this [win] highlights that.”
Before Romig became the Bears’ coach, he coached at Clovis, Mountain View, Sheldon and Del Campo high schools. Romig is the only coach in the state to win a league championship at four different schools.
His coaching career started in 1988 at Del Campo High School, in the Sacramento area. He then coached at Sheldon High School (1997-2000), also located in Sacramento area, before going to Mountain View High School located in Santa Clara County. Romig was at Mountain View from 2002-04 and coached at Clovis High School from 2005-08.
Bears’ athletic director Randy Esraelian called Romig’s milestone and longevity “incredible.”
“Anybody that reaches a milestone of 500 [wins] obviously had longevity in coaching,” Esraelian said. “To me the longevity of coaching is almost worth more than the wins …he truly loves the game and he loves working with young girls and student-athletes.”
Esraelian said longevity in coaching high school basketball is rare in today’s modern game.
“You don’t see coaches stick with it that long anymore,” he said. “You just don’t see it.”
Currently, Selma is 3-0 in CSL play and has sole possession of first place after the win on Friday.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with how we’re playing right now,” Romig said. “We’ve turned a corner as far as focusing, listening and playing hard. It’s the thing we were pushing toward and guiding toward through the start of the season in the [league] schedule. They answered every challenge and every night they brought it with a focus.”
Selma got off to a fast start after the Bears led 22-16 at the end of the first quarter. Junior guard Rachel Vieira scored nine of her 14 points in the quarter for Selma. All 14 of Vieira’s points came in the first half. She was one of four players to score double-digits on the team.
The other three players that scored in double-digits were Clarissa Moreno (16 points), Audrey Gonzalez (11) and Taj Pannu (10).
After the Bears led 30-24 at halftime, Selma started to pull away leading by 15 points with the score at 52-37 at the end of the third quarter.
All four of the players that scored double-digit points were in the Bears’ starting lineup on Friday. Lizette Moreno – the fifth starter on the team –scored eight points in the game.
Romig said something that’s been “fantastic” to watch is the team’s ability to develop plays on the court.
“Our perimeter players are such a weapon right now,” he said. “Now it’s a situation where all five people are a threat – all five people have to be guarded and now they get each other open because of that. “
The Bears will be home to face-off against rival Kingsburg on Jan. 26.
“It’s always intense against Kingsburg,” Romig said. “We’re looking forward to it.”