Carmel basketball teams compete for MTAL titles

The Carmel High girls’ and the boys’ basketball teams are fighting their way to MTAL champions with the girls (10-1 in MTAL, 14-6 overall) tied for first with Stevenson, and the boys (9-2, 17-4) in a close second behind Pacific Grove.

Once again, Tom Dooner is the coach for the girls’ team and is happy at how the season has turned out and how the girls have been playing this year.

“I am excited to see seniors complete their time at CHS and have a successful senior year playing basketball.”

One of the returning players is senior and 2015 league MVP Holly Whittaker, who averages 14 points per game.

“When we play together as a team and use each other’s strengths, we come out with a win,” she says.

The top scorers for the girls’ this year are Whittaker, junior Soana Laulotu with an average of 9 points per game, and Quinn Bernal who averages 10 points per game. Dooner, however, says that all of girls have good nights and high-scoring games.

“Holly plays shooting guard with emphasis on shooting,” Dooner notes.

In the game against P.G. on Feb. 5, Quinn Bernal had 17 points and 8 rebounds, Whittaker had 13 points and 4 assists, and Laulotu chipped in 13 rebounds and 7 points.

The only four-year senior on the team is Whittaker. Bernal and Tasha Haase have been on for three years, while Hannah Lee transferred schools and has been on varsity for two years.

The girls played at Gonzales on Feb. 9, winning 59-37. Whittaker led the way with 19 points, Bernal had 14 points, and Laulotu had 11 points.

Along with the girls, the boys are having a great season as well.

The boys’ coach for the second year in a row is Rich Frank and assistant coach is Hans Schmidt, who has been the coaching for about 17 years here at CHS. Overall, he has been coaching basketball for 23 years and Frank has been coaching for 48 years.

Senior John Stivers, who scored 40 points in the game against Stevenson on Jan. 29, is the team’s best player this year, selected as “Player of the Game” following the performance.

“He plays everything,” Coach Schmidt says with a smile. “Everything but point guard.”

Schmidt says that the boys’ biggest weakness is the fact that they lack team quickness. However, their biggest strength is that the team is made up of guys with a lot of experience.

Shooting guard Joe Garello is the only freshman player on the varsity team.

“It’s a steep learning curve,” Schmidt says. “Coming from a situation where [Joe] was the best on the team to being another guy on the team.”

Over the last four years, three freshmen have been brought up to varsity, one being Stivers. Schmidt says that when a freshman is brought up to varsity, he is on the team for a reason.

“To be a big contributor, not only do you have to be good, you have to be really good,” Schmidt says. “You have to have physical stature. Joe can shoot.”

The most competitive team that Carmel has had to play is University High School in San Francisco, who they lost to 64-46. Through Thursday, Carmel was tied for second place with King City.

The Padres beat P.G. in the game on Feb. 5. In the last few seconds of the game, senior point guard Sam Snowden shot a game sealing three-pointer and swished the ball. Carmel ended Pacific Grove’s 19-game MTAL winning streak with a 40-38 win.

At the Gonzales game on Feb. 9, the boys won 67-42. Most of the baskets were made by Stivers, who had 30 points.

The girls played Santa Catalina and the boys played Marina on Thursday.

-Kim Burns