The winning combination may be taking the floor for the Solano Community College women’s basketball team in 2013-14.
It’s been two years since the Falcons raised a Bay Valley Conference banner in the gym (a banner that was the fourth consecutive) and everyone in the program is ready to end that drought.
No one is burning for a championship more than Solano head coach Matt Borchert who is entering his 14th season at the helm.
Coach Matt and his assistants had an outstanding recruiting year and productive spring and fall seasons. They’ve brought in talent from as close to home as Fairfield and as far away as Reno, Nev., and Georgia.
From Day One, this team has established great relationships on and off the court and they’re ready to make a legitimate run for conference and state championships.
Class of 2014
Leading the way are sophomores Taylor Hamilton and Ariel Clay, both all BVC selections last year.
Taylor, a 5’2” point guard, was up for conference player of the year as a freshman and led the Falcons in scoring, assists and steals.
She scored in double figures in xx of SCC’s xx games and only had one single-digit scoring game in BVC contests. In addition, she posted a triple double in the double overtime win against Napa Valley.
The lefty brings back her fundamentally sound game and looks to add to her assist total with plenty of offensive weapons to deliver to.
On top of her list may be Ariel Clay, Solano’s standout forward who is solid on both ends of the floor.
Ariel was a force to be reckoned with using her ball-handling skills and quickness to get to the basket around much bigger defenders last year. Because of her length and jumping ability, she was also a tough matchup for opponents on defense. She was one of Solano’s leaders in steals.
Taylor and Ariel are joined by classmate Ariella Harper, a third-year sophomore who definitely wants to raise a banner before her career ends. The much improved forward made her presence felt in the post last year. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team and inspires her teammates every day.
Necole White was the biggest surprise of the 2012-13 season. After coming off the bench during the preseason, Necole worked her way into the starting rotation and was an impact player by season’s end. She’s looking to build on that momentum as a sophomore.
Kristina Kountouris is one of the most well-rounded players back from last season. Kristina is a very fundamentally sound and fills every column on the stat sheet. She’s a crowd-pleasing player who hustles after loose balls and plays extremely hard.
Joining the program this year is Denisha Lundy, a transfer from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Denisha played high school ball at Vanden High in Fairfield for former Solano point guard Allison (Gill) Johnson. Denisha’s presence on the floor and abilities at point and offguard will be a huge benefit to the team this year.
Class of 2015
The freshman class will be expected to come in and contribute right away in 2013-14. With solid guards and forwards on the roster, fans will have plenty to cheer about this season.
Justice Robinson and Laura Lawson bring a winning attitude to Solano, having just completed outstanding careers at Armijo High in Fairfield. Justice was a member of the three-time defending Monticello Empire League championship teams. She’s very well-rounded and will be able to play several guard and forward positions for the Falcons this year. She provides great physical presence in the post and can score from anywhere. Laura is one of the team’s top rebounders. She’ll be one of the most important keys to success for Solano this year at the forward positions.
Nikki Andaya can play all three guard spots and is coming off a great year at Benicia High. In addition to her outstanding ball-handling skills, she’s a great passer, scorer and plays great pressure defense. The coaching staff has high expectations for Nikki.
Danika Carlisle is a solid shooter who will play the offguard and forward positions for Solano. She has a great fundamental foundation, is smart and outhustles her opponents.
Jessica Garcia is one of the last student-athletes to come out of Hogan High in Vallejo. She provides the team with great depth at the guard spot and is another solid 3-point shooter as well. She consistently plays great defense and will be key to the Falcons’ defensive strategy.
Jamilla Anderson and Christen Voyles hail from Reno, Nev. Jamilla is one of the team’s better athletes. She knows how to put the ball in the basket and brings good speed and toughness as well. Christen plays all five positions, making her one of this year’s most versatile players. As a forward who can shoot a 3-pointer, she’s going to provide matchup problems for opponents in 2013-14. Christen, who played high school ball for her dad, has a great understanding of the game and comes from an athletic family.
Kai Roberts has made the long trek to Solano County from Miller Grove High in Georgia. She’s a good athlete who can shoot the 3 and play outstanding pressure defense.
Adrianna Jones and Kiara Beacham come from a highly successful program at Vanden High. They teamed with Denisha Lundy to win two conference championships and advance to the section title game. Adrianna is a smart player and an outstanding 3-point shooter. She works extremely hard and has a great understanding of the game. Kiara will be one of the most important aspects of Solano’s defense this year. She’s a great athlete who’s rebounding skills will be relied upon on both ends of the floor.
Solano’s schedule hasn’t changed much over the years. The Falcons were able to get a sneak peak at some of the top programs in Northern California when they played in two showcase events in September. The outing gave the Solano players the chance to go up against some of the top talent in the state. It was a great introduction for the freshmen. Solano consistently plays one of the top schedules in California every year and this year is no different.
The Falcons open the season at the Santa Barbara MTXE tournament. Solano advanced to the championship game two years ago and won the consolation title last year. The tournament, featuring some of the best teams in the South, serves as a great kickoff to the year for the team, allowing them to bond on the road and get some sightseeing in as well.
An annual tradition since the 1990s, the Falcons then travel to Visalia to play in the Tom Gilcrest Invitiational at College of Sequoias. The 16-team event features some of the best programs and players in the state, guaranteeing that every game is competitive.
Solano turns right around and opens its home season with the Solano Showdown. The tournament has been going strong since 1995 and features teams from Northern California playing competitive games over a three-day period. The Falcons won the consolation championship two years ago.
Right after Christmas, the Falcons travel to Cupertino to play in the Mike Gervasoni Memorial Classic at De Anza College. This tournament serves as a great warmup to the Bay Valley Conference season which starts days after the New Year begins.
Solano looks to get back on top of the Bay Valley Conference this year when they tip off the season on January 2. The Falcons won four straight BVC titles from 2008-2011 and will make a strong push to get back to championship form.
All BVC games are double headers with the men’s basketball team and the coaches from both programs have come up with some great promotional and charitable events to involve fans throughout the entire season.
Familiarity on the sideline
Fans may notice at least one familiar face on the sideline this season. Shannon Rankin, who played for Solano from 2010-12, joins the coaching staff. She’s finishing her senior year at San Francisco State and is excited to begin her coaching career at Solano.
Shannon was a standout player at Napa High before coming to Solano. She was an all-BVC forward for the Falcons and earned a scholarship to play at SF State where she suited up for the Gators last year.