SELMA —Traveling for tournaments is nothing new for high school athletes, but playing outside of California could be a positive experience for players, which is something Selma head coach Paul Romig hopes his team gains on their road trips.

Last week, the Selma girls basketball team traveled to Las Vegas for a tournament and are going on a three-game road trip to Pennsylvania on Dec. 27-30.

“Generally, we want to give all our players as wide and rich experience as possible,” Romig said. “Not only is there a basketball benefit to traveling in playing different teams, but it’s important, if not more so for the cultural experience and to experience places outside of our area.”

Romig said the girls saw a magic show in Vegas, which was something most of them never seen.

When the team heads to the East Coast, Romig said there’s numerous activities planned that includes sightseeing at Washington D.C, Philadelphia and New York City.

During the Bears’ three-game road trip, they will take on Lancaster Catholic (4-0), Trinity (5-0) and Emmaus (2-3) high schools.

After the team’s game against Lancaster Catholic High School on Dec. 27, the girls will take a trip to Harrisburg, to visit the Civil War museum, which is a 38.9 mile drive from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“Not only do we want to teach girls basketball, but importantly long memories that they’re cherish long after they remember a score of a game,” Romig said.

During Selma’s trip at the Las Vegas tourney, the Bears torched River Valley (Arizona) 76-7 and Mountain View Christian (Nevada) 75-14. However, they had a tougher time with San Bernardino-area school Arroyo Valley with a 64-61 defeat. 

Not only has Selma traveled out of state but it competed at a tournament in Sacramento on Dec. 7-9. The Bears went 2-1 against Sacramento-area teams in the tourney.

This season, the girls have played quality opponents in California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section Divisions I and II including Clovis East (Div. I), Shafter (Div. II), and Mission Oak (Div. II). Selma is 2-1 in those games including wins against Clovis East and Shafter, but the Bears lost in a 48-46 heartbreaker to Mission Oak on Dec. 15.

It’s games like those that Romig said will provide an opportunity to grow as a team.

“There are things that I would like to think that we weren’t able to do in that game that down the road we will be much more efficient at,” he said.

Selma is 9-5 this season with a young squad, as Lizette Moreno is the only senior on the roster, but the Bears have had several players make an impact including Audrey Gonzalez, Rachel Vieira, Taj Pennu and Clarrisa Moreno.

“We have individuals that could carry us on a particular night,” Romig said. “We want to make it the most difficult for our opponents and the more players that are dangerous that have to be guarded the more dangerous we’re going to be.”

With a young squad playing well during a tough schedule, Romig believes his team can play at its full potential when Central Sequoia League play starts in January.

“I like to think by the end of the season with the experience freshman are going to play like sophomores, sophomores are going to play like juniors,” he said. “That’s why it’s important as a coaching staff. We have to measure ourselves with the consideration of our youth and coach not only for the now, but what hopefully what comes our way in February and in March.”

Last season, Romig coached Selma into the CIF Central Section Div. II playoffs with a 20-10 record. The Bears were eliminated by Redwood in an 80-37 loss in the quarterfinals.

This year, Selma was moved to Div. III.

Despite an entirely different team, Romig said winning a section title remains the goal.

“I think we’ve demonstrated by these top notch teams that we played that are of a higher division,” he said. “We’re capable of playing at that level.”

After Selma’s road trip in Pennsylvania, the Bears will be back in California before their nonleague game at Lemoore on Jan. 3.

Selma will start CSL play on the road against Immanuel on Jan. 12. The girls first official home game will be on Jan. 19 against Exeter.

Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com