Bonita Girls To Start League on High Note

January 12, 2010
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2009-10 Bonita Girls Varsity, winners of the Citrus Cup and three preseason tournaments.

2009-10 Bonita Girls Varsity, winners of the Citrus Cup and three preseason tournaments.

Like the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, the Bonita Girls Varsity Basketball Team started 14-0 this year, including sweeping all three preseason tournaments in which the team played. After dropping a close game against West Covina to end the streak, the Bearcats came back and defeated San Dimas 48-35.

The victory was covered in the Daily Bulletin and San Gabriel Valley Tribune while the boys’ varsity’s victory over their San Dimas rivals barely rated a mention in the local media (outside of

With league play starting today, coach Darren Baumunk, a Bonita math and P.E. teacher now in his fifth season directing the program, expects his girls to vie for a league title and go deep into the playoffs.

We are eager to start,” Baumunk said, smiling and sounding upbeat on the verge of league play. “Now we’re on a mission to hopefully challenge Diamond Ranch for the league title.

Bonita is currently ranked No. in Division 3-A while Diamond Ranch is ranked No. 2 in Division 2-A. Baumunk has Friday, Jan. 20, circled on his calendar. That’s the day the two rivals meet in Bonita’s home gym.

“With our confidence, and the way we’ve been winning, and the way we’ve been playing defense, we won’t come out timid or nervous,” said Baumunk, a 1993 graduate of Bonita where he played soccer, basketball and four years of baseball and football.

Baumunk has cause for optimism. More important than the 15-1 record and three tournament titles is a spirited squad of talented players he will rely on get the job done.

“This is by far the deepest team I’ve had,” Baumunk said at Monday’s afternoon practice in preparation for Wednesday’s opener against Charter Oak on the Chargers’ home court at 5 p.m. It’s also becoming one of the most experienced.

“We have three juniors on the team, Madison Zylstra, Jacklyn Smith and Taylor Anderson who were varsity starters as freshmen,” he said.

The team is athletic enough to run an up-tempo offense, as well.

“We’re always trying to push the ball,” Baumunk said, “Our style is trying to catch the rebound and push the ball up the court. If we can make a transition offense, and score within the first 10 seconds, I’m happy.

“I want to run. My wife, especially, says she hates watching girls’ basketball because it’s too slow. Obviously, we’ll never be like the boys’ style, but I like to run as much as we can.”

Anderson will be one of Bonita’s floor generals. Another is senior guard Ariana Domasin who brings a lot of quickness to the court after recovering from an MCL injury. Natalie Reyes, up from the JVs, is one more guard sparking the Bearcats. “She’s getting into it and really coming into her own,” Baumunk said of Reyes. “She can also create shots for herself.”

Brianna Kennedy, a force on Bonita’s CIF-finals volleyball team, is an even more dominant basketball player at this point in her athletic career. Kennedy plays under the basket and helps trigger the Bearcats’ fastbreak. “She’s very talented, Baumunk said, adding that along with Taylor at point and Madison as the team’s shooter, she gives the team a tough trio of players for other teams to try to shut down.

Inside, Kennedy gets plenty of help. Often Baumunk assigns Smith to guard the other team’s best post player. “The reason why,” Baumunk explained, “is we know she can handle it. We know she’s going to be aggressive.”

She also comes with another benefit. “I also think she’s the best passer on the team,” Baumunk said.

More support comes from Lauren Hastings, a 5-foot-8 senior. “She’s diving for balls, running down rebounds, you name it,” Bauman noted. “Her aggressiveness has vastly improved.”

Baumunk also likes the energy and enthusiasm Alejandra Garay, Stephanie Herra and Reyna bring to every practice and game. “They go hard all the time. They make us better every day.”

The girls played brilliantly in the first half of the schedule. Whether they will continue to be high flyers or come back down to earth, that’s what the season will sort out.

Handling high expectations and the pressure to continue to playing at a high level shouldn’t be a problem, Baumunk said. This year, as in seasons past, Baumunk will be assisted by coaches Bruce Becker and Mary Hanawalt.

“We have a lot of leaders on this team.”

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