The Sonoma Valley Dragons girls basketball team should have been in the catbird seat right about now.
What with returning the Sonoma County League’s co-MVP in Jenny Eggers and the league’s defensive player of the year in Sami Von Gober, as well as coach of the year Sil Coccia?
Add to that second team all-league pick Grace Cutting, honorable-mention selection Renee O’Donnell and a slew of seniors, and you have yourself a potent mix. Then why are the defending SCL champs sitting on a 5-7 record and heading into league play next week with a sub-.500 record?
“I think it’s like a mental thing where we are not in it right now,” Eggers said. “We are good, we have lots of talent, but as a team, as of right now, we are just not playing as a team.”
Coccia was more succinct.
“We have incredibly underachieved,” he said. “I think the kids just maybe had this expectation that we did so great last year and we are returning basically everybody and we’ll be fine and we’re not.”
A great season it was: The first outright league title in 31 years, a school record 22 wins and a slew of all-league awards.
So why the slow start?
“It’s one of those things you can’t put your fingers on,” Coccia said.
But the Dragons are trying to figure it out, trying to solve the chemistry puzzle, trying to light their own fire.
“It’s kind of hard to pinpoint,” defensive specialist Von Gober said. “Last year we did not think we were going to do well. We were the underdogs every time out. It’s that mentality, ‘Oh we are not going to win but we are going to try. I’m going to go down fighting every minute of every quarter’ because that is what we had to do to win.”
Ironically, the Dragons might have dug for themselves a big enough hole that they just might be considered underdogs from here on out.
“Maybe we are again and we kind of have to fight like that,” Von Gober said.
The Dragons certainly won’t have an easy go of it with the likes of Analy and Petaluma on their plate. Von Gober said every team in the league can pose a danger on any night.
Wins have come with their defense. The Dragons have held opponents to 28 points in their five wins. In their seven losses? They gave up an average of 47 points a game, which is not an other worldly number. The Dragons just need to score.
“We haven’t done that bad defensively, but offensively we aren’t scoring enough points,” Von Gober said.
Against Palm Springs on Monday they scored just 22 points.
“We were just shooting the three pointers up the ying yang and nothing was falling,” she said.
They need to get the best shot instead of the first shot, she said.
And the Dragons need to get hungry. Two of their games were nailbiters and they came up short on both. They lost to Napa 43-42 and to San Rafael 42-40.
“Those were games we were winning last year,” Coccia said.