Hart’s Varsity Basketball Teams Gladly Welcome Five Freshmen

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Reprinted with permission from Terra Palmer

Varsity Girls' Basketball has four new freshmen added to this season's roster.

Ariella Kandkhorov, Staff Writer

In the 2019-2020 season of winter sports, Hart’s varsity basketball teams feature a total of five freshmen, four girls and one boy, while neither soccer team has a freshman on their rosters. These freshmen are Vanessa Zavala, #33, Laney Grider, #4, Braelyn Waldeck, #25, Emily Pham, #12 and Brady Dunlap, #15. 

“We are very excited about this year’s freshman class overall, and have extremely high expectations for the four who made our varsity team,” said girls’ basketball head coach, Coach Terra Palmer.

Vanessa Zavala plays wing and excels at both passing and scoring. She has the ability to make shots from beyond the arc and around the rim. 

“[She is] one of the most coachable players I have ever had, we expect to see great things from Vanessa and she continues to work hard on refining her skills,” Coach Palmer said,

Zavala played in a total of seven games, the most games out of all the freshmen. She has an average of 1.6 points and 0.3 defensive rebounds per game.

“Season was not the easiest, but I had the whole team to go through it with, which helped a lot. This team means a lot to me, and even though I’ve only known everyone there for about nine months, it feels like I’ve known them for so much longer,” said Zavala.  

Laney Grider is not only a point guard, but also a shooting guard and wing. She is part of the starting lineup, as well. She’s athletic, aggressive, and has a very competitive spirit. 

“Laney is a talented player with a great work ethic who is a favorite of all her teammates,” Coach Palmer said.

Of the six games she’s taken part in, Grider has an average of 5.2 points and one defensive rebound per game. 

“I went in really scared as a freshman because I was playing with all these seniors and juniors, also some sophomores, but when I got there the whole team made me feel welcome. They all treated me like I was their little sister and really helped me grow in the game,” said Grider.

Braelyn Waldeck is a shooting guard that’s always working to contribute to her team with her positive and harding working attitude. Waldeck made seven points and one defensive rebound in the one game she played in. 

“We look forward to her continuing to grow in our program,” Coach Palmer said. 

Emily Pham is a point guard. She is a firm defender and makes good decisions when she has the ball. She has an average of three points per game, and played in one game. 

“She does a great job creating opportunities for her teammates and makes us better when she is on the court,” Coach Palmer said.

Boys varsity basketball has only one freshman, but he is very deserving of his spot on the team. 

He’s a hard working kid who spends seven days a week working out. He has a bright future and has the potential to play college basketball,” said Coach Tom Kelly. 

6’6” Brady Dunlap, who moved to Santa Clarita from North Carolina, is one of the forwards of the boys’ team. He’s a versatile and talented player.

“My time on the team has been fun, as a freshman I’ve had to adjust to the speed and strength of playing against older players, but throughout the year I’ve gotten a lot better. The upperclassmen have also helped me develop my game a lot better,” said Dunlap.

Hart’s freshmen have been largely contributing to the teams’ successes. 

Hart’s varsity Boys Basketball included one freshman during the 2019-2020 season.