The Galt Warrior varsity girls basketball program hadn’t defeated Stagg High School in seven seasons, but over the weekend they grabbed that elusive win on Stagg’s own turf, Galt head coach Dorvez Barnett noted after another win on Nov. 25.
The Warriors won 32-30 against the Delta Kings and days later defeated Ben Holt Academy in the Foundation Game 43-28 in the Nottoli Dome.
Playing under their third coach in as many seasons, this season has brought changes, including adding a freshman team and quickening their style of play with a team that features battle-tested returning players leading a group of newcomers.
“We want to give everybody an opportunity to develop according to their skill set,” Barnett said of the new freshman team.
Having coached on a championship team with his previous school, Barnett is fresh off a state championship in Oakland and says he can relate to the challenges the Warriors have been through over recent years in trying to grow its program.
“Prior to here, I was on the staff at Oakland High School where we won the Division III State title. So the opportunity came and I’m living in the area now, in Tracy, and I wanted to find something closer to home. Once I had the interview here, I started to notice that there was some potential here, some things that happened here before that I personally experienced at another school and I understand that they have the same challenges here,” Barnett said. “That was something that I’d seen we could do at Galt High School to help revitalize the program and bring some restoration to the program.”
In the Foundation Game, which doesn’t count in team’s win-loss records and is played partially to raise money for scholarships, the Warriors went back and forth with Ben Holt before their shooting began to take off and they eventually started to pull away in the third quarter.
“We started really slow, then began to progress as the game went on,” Barnett said of the game.
Barnett said the team has welcomed him and he’s received positive feedback from the players.
“So far, it’s very receptive. They’ve accepted the challenge to do better. So far, we’ve been getting good comments, except for when I make them run,” he said with a grin.
Barnett said he is working on bringing together the Warriors’ different experience levels since they did not play together during the off-season or participate in summer ball.
“You have 11 different girls who have not played together in nine months. They haven’t had any off-season development, we have one student transfer from Mexico, we have one student who was not around till the day of practice and hadn’t played basketball since February, and we have a couple of other girls who are tri-athletes so they don’t get a chance to develop their basketball skills because they play fall sports, spring sports and such,” said Barnett.
One of the team’s goals is to defeat Liberty Ranch, and they will also try to improve on last season’s league record as well (the Sierra Valley Conference season starts Jan. 10 against Rosemont).
The Warriors went 1-9 in the SVC in 2018 and were 10-16 overall.
“You can expect the team to learn to adjust to a different style of basketball. We’re looking to play a little bit more up-tempo. Because of the recent past, that hasn’t been done here, so we’re just trying to set a different culture, trying to make this a real competitive environment.
“For me, it’s bringing together 11 girls who are just now playing together on a consistent basis for nine months.”