Elk Grove High School
In the News
Elk Grove continues winning streak
By Ben Brown Citizen Sports Writer
February 14, 2018
As the regular season winds down, the one thing schools with playoff aspirations want to do is go on a winning streak. The Elk Grove girls' basketball team fits that mold. The Thundering Herd came into last Friday’s game against Franklin on a six-game winning streak, a streak that they started after a loss to Franklin at home last month.
After Friday's game, Elk Grove would increase that winning streak to seven games.
The Thundering Herd led from start-to-finish and ground out a 38-30 victory over the Wildcats at Franklin High School.
"We knew Franklin was a competitive team and we knew we had to run them off the three-point line and not let them start to get a rhythm from the perimeter, and it worked out for us," said Elk Grove head coach Larry Price.
"They beat us in our gym so to win tonight in their gym feels nice."
Elk Grove were able to set the tone early with their quick passes from the three guards on the perimeter and the hi-low action with Keyara McCoy at the free throw line. This allowed Elk Grove to jump out to an eight-point lead after the first quarter and score 16 points, which was the most they scored in any quarter. McCoy led the Thundering Herd in scoring and was the only player in the game in double digits in scoring with 10 points.
The young Franklin Wildcats were able to put that first quarter behind them and really lock down on Elk Grove defensively. Franklin only gave up 22 points in the final three quarters, which allowed them to hang around in the game.
"We knew what they wanted to do and the girls were able to stay competitive, and it is unfortunate because we did not play our best first quarter," said Franklin head coach Jesse Formaker.
"I do not think we came out and matched the intensity, focus and physicality that Elk Grove came out with."
Franklin was able to cut the Elk Grove lead to as small as two in the third quarter but the Wildcats were never able to get over the hump and take the lead in the game, although Franklin does have a lot to look forward to.
The Wildcats are on the cusp on a playoff berth as they wrap up their season. Franklin now sits at 14-9 and 7-6 in the Delta League with a team that only have one senior on its roster.
"Be able to understand the magnitude of moments like tonight's game is such a struggle with a young team," Formaker said.
"With that being said, I think we are improving and already capable of competing now for this year with a team that is so young."
Getting on a winning streak like Elk Grove has this late in the season is huge for their playoff potential. Sitting at 16-10 and 10-3 in the Delta, Elk Grove can hope to build on this winning streak as they push into the playoffs and try to replicate the success of seasons past under Price.
Alike Franklin, Elk Grove is a rather young team, fielding only three seniors, but three very experienced seniors at that.
"Lailani Hanks, Ikeysha Smith and Farah Nhan have been there with us for the long haul and, between my time at Florin and here at Elk Grove, that experience that they provide and leadership they have is huge for us," Price said about his senior class.
Nhan was a sophomore when Elk Grove appeared in the CIF State Championship Game as a No. 12 seed in 2016.
"I think continuity and the girls really meshing has led to our winning streak and these girls always play together and for each other," Price said.
Franklin will conclude their season on the road against Pleasant Grove with a possible playoff spot on the line.
Elk Grove will have their senior night this week and look to end the season on an eight-game winning streak against Sheldon.
Elk Grove Citizen
Lady Herd eye playoffs and defeats Monterey Trail for sixth straight win
By James Darnell Citizen Sports Writer
Feb 9, 2018
The Elk Grove Lady Herd is on a roll.
With a convincing 52-37 win at Monterey Trail Tuesday night, Elk Grove (15-10 overall, 9-3 Delta League) has reeled off six-consecutive basketball victories, and appear to be peaking at the right time with CIF Sac Joaquin Section playoffs right around the corner.
Led by 15 points from sophomore Maya Chelini and 13 points from fellow sophomore Rylie Hardin, Elk Grove displayed the mark of a playoff contender. After a sloppy first half in which both teams failed to create much separation due to poor shot selection and gritty defensive efforts, Elk Grove did what good teams do best during the halftime break leading by just seven points - they made adjustments.
The Lady Herd came out like gangbusters in the second half with an 18-8 run, including six points from sophomore Keyara McCoy, who tallied seven in the contest.
"We didn't shoot well in the first half," Elk Grove head coach Larry Price said. "So we had to make that correction. "We had to run our offense. We didn't run our offense well at all in the first half, so we started running our offense and we started getting better shots."
That run in the third quarter ultimately catapulted Elk Grove to the win as they were able to hold onto the advantage.
For the Lady Mustangs (11-12 overall, 6-6 Delta League), the game appeared to be well within reach during the first half as their defense kept the game close despite a woeful offensive performance that featured forced shots and costly turnovers. The third quarter collapse was frustrating for Monterey Trail head coach David Whitsett.
"The girls overthink," he said. "We put things in at halftime and they tend to overthink. A lot of it is thinking on their own instead of letting us think for them as coaches."
Leading the way for Monterey Trail was sophomore Jada Harris, who converted on three of her attempts from beyond the arc for nine points after coming off the bench. Junior center/forward Tayla Thompson added seven points and countless hustle plays in the effort.
For Monterey Trail, the loss comes at bad time as they entered Tuesday night trailing Franklin by one game in the standings for the fourth and final playoff spot within the Delta League. With their final two games coming against the top two teams in the league (St. Francis on Friday and Davis on Feb. 13, respectively), Whitsett knows they have their work cut out for them.
"Those are really big games for us," he said. "If we can go and get these two games, there's a chance we can sneak into the playoffs. We're going to throw the kitchen sink at them and see what happens."
For Elk Grove, Tuesday's win marked their sixth in a row. The Lady Herd entered the night one game behind St. Francis for second place, and just two games back from first place Davis. With their last two games coming at Franklin on Friday and versus Sheldon on Valentine's Day, there's a chance they can secure the top playoff spot within league if things shake out accordingly. Whether they do or not is yet to be seen, but their coach believes something special is brewing no matter where they land in the playoff seedings. When asked what his message is to his team coming down the stretch, Price didn't hold back.
"That we can win the whole thing."
Elk Grove Citizen
After a disappointing end to last season, Herd wants to rebound
Price encouraged by young players
By Jared Rebensdorf Citizen Sports Intern
December 6, 2017
From the get-go of an early season matchup against Vista Del Lago, it was clear that the Elk Grove girls squad was better and well on their way to another great season. However, despite four straight winning seasons and deep runs into the postseason, the Herd still have not found a way to break the barrier and win themselves a San Joaquin Section title. They've come close several times and even reached the CIF Division II State title game as a 12-seed in 2016.
Some have wondered if, after years of roster turnover and opportunities, the Herd had missed their shot. Even third year head coach Larry Price understood key players from years past were no longer there to help the cause.
"I don't want to say that we're rebuilding, but Maddie Wong isn't walking through that door, Mira Shulman isn't walking through that door, Paiton Demps isn't walking through that door," Price said.
That being said, Price also mentioned that though the talent pool is different and less flashy, that his players this season are hard-nosed basketball players who are determined to bring a section title to Elk Grove.
"To be able to look at a Riley [Hardin] and kids we've got coming in are big time ball players," explained Price, who in his first two seasons as head coach has lead the team to two straight 24-win seasons and a 49-18 overall record. "And they chose to come to Elk Grove over Cosumnes Oaks or Franklin and all the rest of the schools. And that's an honor to me for them to want me to coach them."
Those in attendance at the Cartwright Classic matchup were able to see just what type of big time ballplayers Elk Grove had to offer this season; and they were as advertised.
Players like Hardin as well as senior Lailani Hanks and sophomore Keyara McCoy were getting after it offensively and freshman Amani Britton crashed the boards with almost no resistance during the Herd's 58-30 win over Vista del Lago. The ball movement was crisp, they shot well from the field and the free throw line, and whenever there was a loose ball, whoever was near would dive for it with no regard for life or limb even in an early, non-league matchup. This goes to show that the grit of this team will easily be able to fill the talent void that has been left by graduating seniors of recent memory.
"I've coached these girls since they were in middle school," Price said. "And that's the thing that we bring about; if you're going to win games, you've got to sacrifice yourself, you have to win the 50-50 balls, and you've got to scrap."
Throughout the duration of the game and given the players that have come and gone, it appears that this season will feature a more role-oriented team than Elk Grove has seen in recent past. Since the primary ball-handlers and scorers of the past have gone - Wong to Chico State, Shulman to UC-Santa Barbara and Demps to Delta College - every one of the players will have a job to do. And if executed perfectly, Price thinks there could be another deep postseason run because this team is pretty deep with talent in the starting lineup and off the bench as well.
"[For them] It's not an 'I' thing, it's a team thing," Price explained when talking about his team's personality. "They believe in one another."
Elk Grove did suffer a pair of losses in this year's Cartwright tournament. They were narrowly defeated by Christian Brothers, 53-49, with both Hanks and Smith not playing.
On Saturday, Antelope overwhelmed Elk Grove, 76-48. McCoy had 19 points and 14 rebounds while Hanks added 15 points in the loss. This weekend the Herd will play in the Modesto Christian tournament.
Chico State Wildcats Website
December 4, 2017
Wong Named Chico State Player of the Week