Royal’s Ward points the way
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Erika (Ward) is a true point guard,” Selleh said. “She’s always looking to pass, and she’s pretty confident. We (also) have a lot of confidence in her.” Part of the Highlanders’ success is that this group has played basketball together for much of its youth careers. Ward and fellow sophomores Shana Moore and Kris King know each other and played together, while Selleh and Heteniak have competed together since the sixth grade. “We’re an evenly distributing team,” Selleh said. “If someone is having a bad night, we’ll get the ball to them.” Heteniak, a pitcher on Royal’s softball team and key ingredient in the Highlanders Div. I championship last season in softball, will continue to be on the receiving end of Ward’s passes, along with Selleh, the team’s leading scorer. Team concept: Royal’s boys’ basketball team (5-9, 0-2) was set back when they lost their center to ineligibility – but their season was not over. “Coach (Craig Griffin) said, ‘Take a look, this is the 12 guys we have,’ “forward Chris Buckley said. “We (the team) are not based on just one person.” In fact, Royal has found themselves in many games despite lacking star power with their gutsy play and knowledge of the fundamentals. “We’re undersized, but we play really hard,” Buckley said. “We’re a scrappy, hard-nosed team. We don’t have a Kobe Bryant, but we’re playing with a team concept.” Buckley, a 5-9 sophomore forward, has been around the game a long time. His father, Jeff, was coached by Griffin’s father, Rich Griffin, in middle school. “It’s been a great learning experience,” Buckley said of his role on the team as a sophomore. “Coach (Griffin) tell me that I will make mistakes. I just can’t put my head down.” Senior forward Brendon Norton, one of the Highlanders’ leaders on the court, has taken notice. “It’s surprising how well he’s playing right now,” Norton said. “I’ve thought about what I was doing a couple of years ago and I think he’s maturing pretty quickly.” Nate Brown, (818) 713-3607 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “She’s a very intense player,” coach Mike Kohl said. “She’s also the best long-range passer I’ve ever coached.” Ward, the team’s leader in assists, distributes the ball well and makes sure senior forwards Jessi Selleh and DePaul-bound Becca Heteniak get the ball beneath the basket. Royal High point guard Erika Ward is just a sophomore, but she plays like an experienced senior and is a big reason for the success of the Highlanders (9-5). Ward knows competition at high levels and has even competed against boys in Simi Valley’s youth baseball leagues – an endeavor that has helped Ward size up the Marmonte’s most formidable opponents.