Elk Grove High School
Lady Herd Basketball

Elk Grove, California



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Elk Grove Citizen

Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Semi-finals
Vanden gets even with Herd
Herd awaits NorCal seed
By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor
Feb 28, 2017 Updated Feb 28, 2017

It was a bit of revenge for Vanden's girls basketball team to beat Elk Grove Tuesday night. After winning its second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship, their road to a NorCal Championship was derailed by the Lady Herd in a 69-63 defeat on March 15. It ended a long home winning streak by the Vikings.

Elk Grove went on to beat Sacramento four nights later , 46-45, for the NorCal Championship.

Fast forward to Tuesday night and the 2017 Section semi-finals. Once again the Herd and the Vikings opposed each other on the arena floor at University of the Pacific. Much like the previous year, it was Vanden's turn to shine in Stockton. Behind the 21 points, 12 rebounds night of Jul Blackshell-Fair, the Vikings advanced to its third straight Division II championship game with a 53-45 win over Elk Grove.

Now, they prepare for Friday's Section championship game against Sacramento.

While neither team set the world on fire with its offensive attack, it was a handful for missed short bank shots that wouldn't go down for the Herd. And, as head coach Larry Price said, the girls never got going Tuesday.

"Basically, we were out of sync," Price said. "We were geared up to play and it didn't happen."

Senior Mira Shulman had 19 points on seven-of-17 shooting and Paiton Demps added seven points and seven rebounds in the losing cause.

"We just didn't get into the swing of things," Price commented. "Paiton didn't play her game at all, none of us played."

Where the Herd has excelled all year was some key shots at the three-point circle, but Elk Grove didn't have that shot Tuesday. They were only two-of-15 beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, on the inside Elk Grove was battered by the Vikings' impressive center Jul Blackshell-Fair.

"It took not one of us, to guard her," Price said. "It took good team defense and we missed our assignments on that."

Because Elk Grove made the Section semi-finals the loss doesn't mean the end of the season. On Sunday, CIF will announce its NorCal and SoCal Regional brackets. It's very likely the Herd will have to travel to the Bay Area to open the NorCals.

"We've been there before," Price said.

Last year they were a 12-seed that eventually surprised us all.

Line Score:

#1 Vanden 53, #4 Elk Grove 45

Elk Grove 10 14 10 11 - 45
Vanden 15 13 12 13 - 53

EG: Shulman 19, Demps 7, Hanks 5, Smith 4, Chelini 4, McCoy 2, Hardin 2, Nhan 2.

V: Blackshell-Fair 21, Huff 9, Alden 9, Moreland 6, Campbell 6, Martinez 2

Elk Grove Citizen - Online -
By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor

Herd needs work before defending NorCal Championship

Ikeysha Smith has a word with Elk Grove coach Larry Price duing Tuesday's 52-44 win over Monterey Trail. Smith led all scorers with 21 points. Photo by John Hull.

Larry Price likes to tell it like it is. The Elk Grove girls' basketball coach should have been overjoyed that his team won its 20 game of the year Tuesday, 52-44, over Monterey Trail. But, Price saw some flaws that could eventually knock them out of the playoffs if they aren't careful.

"Mentally we're not there," Price said. "I think we have it takes to make a state run, but mentally we're not ready."

With a new talented crew of players come some new fans and Price thinks the girls are getting advice from other places instead of the bench.

"I think they listen to the sidelines," he asserted. "I think outside influence is creeping in. It's a big distraction."

The Herd has five freshmen seeing regular action and a couple transfers added to a talented group led by Mira Shulman and Paiton Demps. Shulman says the young folks have added depth to this year's team, but overall they can play better.

"Last year we weren't as skilled as this team, but we had a higher (basketball) I.Q.," Shulman explained. "They were built from J.V. and their fundamentals were very sound. They would look before they pass. They would box out and do little things like that. Sometimes these girls don't do that because they didn't play JV and didn't get that fundamental coaching."

But, 25 games in the season, she says that the team's defense is doing well.

"We're coming together and we'll be ready for playoffs," Shulman said. "Every team has some up and downs and this was a weird game."

Elk Grove is the defending Division II champions in Northern California. Price says there is no reason they can't be in the NorCal game again this year.

"We have to move the ball," Price said. "Ball movement is big for us. We'll be able to get to the basket, we'll get medium-range shots, we’ll be able to get fouled, all of that."

One boost the Herd is getting right now is the return of Sydnee Kilbride, Elk Grove’s 6-1 center.

"I think she'll help us under the basket," Price said. "Right now I'm trying to work her into the lineup."

On a positive side, this is the first Herd team to win 20 games in the regular season since Brian Benson's 2007-2008 team. And, if the girls can get some help in the final two games of the season, they could also pick up a Delta League championship. Elk Grove is now 10-2 in the league while St. Francis stands at 10-1. The Troubadours face Monterey Trail at home on Friday and host Sheldon and travel to Grant to end the season next week.

Monterey Trail coach Lauren Goodman said it appears as though they will have to win out in their final two games in order to see the playoffs. But, on Tuesday she was pleased with how her girls hung with Elk Grove.

"No one thought we'd be in this one, but we were," Goodman said. "We've got to win out, though, to get to the playoffs."

Elk Grove Citizen - Online

Mira Shulman at St Francis - 2/1/2017
Mira Photo

Photo by Steven Shaff
Elk Grove's Mira Shulman (left) had 26 points Wednesday, but St. Francis and senior Janae Fairbrook rode a strong start to beat the Herd 60-55. That's Elk Grove's second loss in the Delta League and the Trouadours pulled into a first place tie with the Herd.

Elk Grove Citizen

Team of the Year: Elk Grove's Lady Herd Basketball
By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor
Dated Dec 30, 2016

Elk Grove girls win the CIF NorCal Division II basketball championship

The Lady Herd didn't have much height or much depth, but what they did have last season was an outstanding shooting guard in Madison Wong, a scrappy player in Paiton Demps and a playmaker in Mira Shulman.

It took, though, a veteran coach like Larry Price to move over from Florin High School and take over the program to put everything together. The Herd finished in second place behind St. Francis in the Delta League, played a disappointing game in the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division II semi-finals, losing to Vanden by 20 points. But, they qualified for the CIF NorCal Regionals, seeded 12th.

Here is where they caught fire. After an opening round blowout wins over Acalanes and Pleasant Valley, they went to Vanden, the Section's Division II champion, and plopped a big 69-63 win over the Vikings. That ended a 56-game home winning streak at Vanden.

The Herd then went to Sleep Train Arena for the NorCal Championship game against perennial power Sacramento. Elk Grove hung with the Dragons all night even though they had a rough start. In fact, Sacramento scored the first nine points of the night.

Elk Grove fought back and held a 33-32 lead going into the fourth quarter. It was 46-45, Elk Grove, with :16 left. The Herd worked the ball to Wong who was fouled by RyAnne Walters. The Herd was in the bonus and Wong stepped to the line for the one-and-one. She missed the free throw, Sacramento rebounded and quickly moved up the floor without a time-out.

"I ran back on defense after I missed the free throw," Wong recalled. "I was looking for Aliceah Hernandez because I knew they were going to try to get her the ball. Then she threw up some shot."

Hernandez got off a shot with three seconds left, missed it and the rebound came to an unguarded Dragon who tried an off-balance banker that plunked off the rim at the horn.

"My heart dropped," Shulman said, knowing that shot could have won the game for Sacramento. "There's no way she should have had that, but it bounced that way."

The celebration began on the court for the Herd, a club that was 24-10 this season and finishedsecond place in the Delta League.

Dripping with perspiration and toweling himself off in the media room afterwards, Price could only commend the performance of his girls.

"Resilient, resilient," he said. "They are family and they fight and they strive together."

That joy was short-lived, though.

A week later San Bernardino came to town and grabbed the Division II State Championship right out of the Herd’s hands. Elk Grove led 32-31 going into the final quarter, but then the Cowgirls rang off 19 points in a row, outscored the Herd, 24-4, and won the championship, 55-36.

Elk Grove Citizen

Sports Moment of 2016
By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor
Updated Dec 26, 2016

It is special for any local team to advance as far as a Section championship, even more rare to make it to a NorCal championship game. For the first time in its school history, Elk Grove's girls basketball team played for and won the NorCall Division II championship. A last second shot by Sacramento clanged off the rim and the Herd won, 46-45, and the celebration was on.
Elk Grove Citizen

Female Athlete of 2016
By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor
Updated Dec 26, 2016

Mira Shulman showed she could do it all on the basketball court - dribble, shoot, drive, defend. Her skills were really shining as she led the Elk Grove girls basketball team all the way to the CIF NorCal Division II championship. She also high-jumped on the track team and was a member of the Herd volleyball squad that won 37 games this fall.
Elk Grove Citizen

EG Boys and Girls win Cartwright
By Citizen Sports Staff Updated Dec 3, 2016

For the first time since the Bill Cartwright Classic went co-ed 23 years ago, both the Elk Grove boys and the girls teams won the tournament championship.

The girls defeated Antelope, 70-40, while the boys beat McClatchy, 47-42, Saturday.

The Lady Herd trailed the Titans, 13-11, after the first period and then turned it on defensively to pull away to a 29-20 halftime margin.

Four scored in double figures led by Mira Shulman with 17, Rylie Hardin had 14, Maya Chelini had 12 and Paiton Demps added 11 points.

The boys were led by Deon Stewart and Paul Ohiri, both with 12 points. Stewart also hauled down 15 rebounds while Ohiri had 12 boards.

Elk Grove Citizen
By Citizen Sports Staff Updated Dec 3, 2016

Cartwright Classic
Elk Grove to play for boys & girls championships
EG faces Antelope, 5 p.m. Sat.

Elk Grove's Mira Shulman scored a triple-double in Friday's 72-38 win over Edison of Fresno. The Elk Grove senior had 19 points, ten assists, ten steals, and nine rebounds. The first triple-double at EGHS since Kelly Hodges in 1998. (Photo by Keri Wood)
Paiton Demps scored 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting while Mira Shulman tacked on a triple-double as Elk Grove overwhelmed Edison of Fresno, 72-38, in the second round of the girls part of the Bill Cartwright Classic Friday at Elk Grove H.S.

Shulman had 19 points, ten assists, ten steals and nine rebounds for the first Herd triple-double since Kelly Hodges in 1998.

Elk Grove will take on perennial power Antelope Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Cartwright Gym for the tournament championship. The Titans beat River City Friday, 73-56.

The Elk Grove boys will also play for its part of the Cartwright Championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against McClatchy. The Herd defeated Lodi, 66-43, Friday in the second round. Junior Sidney Ha led the way with 17 points, followed by Paul Ohiri with 12 and Tino Villanueva with 11.

Elk Grove High School
9800 Elk Grove-Florin Road
Elk Grove, California 95624
(916) 686-7741
Last Updated: March 26, 2017