Alverno Lower School Varsity Girls Basketball Champions!


On Thursday March 10th, Alverno Lower School’s Varsity Girls Basketball Team ended their inaugural season with a victory over Holy Angels School of Arcadia at St. Philip’s Gym in Pasadena to capture the CYO Silver Division Championship. The dominant play by the girls, especially in the second half where they outscored the Angels 25-5, was truly impressive. The championship game was the reward for defeating St. Didacus School of Sylmar in the first round and St. Joseph the Worker School of Winnetka in the Semi-finals; both games played at Alemany High School in Mission Hills. In retrospect, the journey to this point was as winding and unexpected as the times we are living in.


One year prior to this year’s CYO March Madness, Alverno middle school students arrived for the first time to attend classes together, in-person, on campus. Four of the girls on the team were at a different school. In fact, Alverno’s team of 12 girls represent 9 different feeder schools. 3 of the 5 girls that suited up for Coach Andrea Bertollini’s B squad last spring had never played organized basketball before, yet their experience (or lack thereof) was comparable to that of the 7 that joined the roster this year.

Early practices included identifying parts of the court like “Block” and “Elbow,” as well as traditional concepts like a “3-person weave” and “help defense.” Comparisons to other sports the girls play during teachable moments was a common technique. Early signs of aggressiveness led to the implementation of a 1-3-1 trap defensive scheme that occasionally morphed into a box-and-1 when necessary. The effort of the girls on the defensive side of the ball ultimately led to a 14.7 point per game average by opposing teams in the play-offs in contrast to the Jaguars’ 37.7points per game average.

8th graders Stella T., Carolyn W., Jaycee S., Sachiko H., and Sofia D. and 7th graders Storie S., Audrey R., Eleanor C., Ava T., Naomi S., Emily J., and Monet H. will forever have the distinction of bringing home Alverno Lower School’s first CYO Championship. More importantly to coaches Rich Martinez, Alex Loya, and Gabriel Hernandez, the girls showed the hustle, focus, fun, and camaraderie that future generations of Jaguar teams should reach for.



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