Lady Panthers Take Third Straight Bay League Title
• The Peninsula High girls’ varsity basketball team won its third Bay League championship, but they want more.
For the third year in a row, the girls’ varsity basketball team at Peninsula High School earned the title Bay League champion, having won the title in 2020 and 2021 as well.
In past seasons, unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bay League consisted of six high schools — Palos Verdes, Redondo Union, Mira Costa, Culver City, Santa Monica and Peninsula - playing each other twice. At the end of the set of games, the team with the most wins is the Bay League champion.
This season, however, circumstances were a bit different due to COVID-19, which caused the season to be cut short. Each team only played each other once, and after those games were played, teams were ranked on a scale from one to six. Once the rankings were established, all the teams played a round-robin tournament, and since Peninsula won the most games, they were Bay League champions for the 2022 season.
“It was a season of uncertainty and adaptation, which made our win even more rewarding knowing what we had to overcome to get here,” said Panthers senior Katelyn White. “It was disappointing not to play that final game, but being Bay League champions is an honor and a title well-earned through this team’s hard work.”
The winning game was between Peninsula, which held the third seed in the rankings, and Mira Costa, which held the second seed. The final score was 55-54, making for an incredibly close match and a thrilling win. Though this was the game that sealed the title for the Peninsula, it was not supposed to be their last game — there was a game scheduled against Culver City, which beat number-one ranked Redondo Union and was scheduled to advance to the next game on Feb. 4. However, Culver City had to forfeit because of too many players contracting COVID-19, which made for an unorthodox and sudden win for Peninsula.
The team found out they won Bay League via a message from their coach, Natalie Kelly, hours before the game was scheduled to begin.
“I would say this year’s win was definitely less exciting and eventful than the previous years’ wins,” Peninsula senior Jami Galdones said. “There was a lot of anticipation for [the game against Culver City], and I know a lot of people would have come out to support us, but at the end of the day we did win Bay League, so there is not much for me to be upset about.
“Being a three-time Bay League champion feels very rewarding, as our team put in a lot of hard work and dedication each day during practice. Winning Bay League, especially in my senior year, is a nice cherry on top to commemorate all our hard work,” Galdones said.
The girls varsity basketball team’s success in this year’s Bay League can be attributed in part to their rigorous training schedule. During the official basketball season, which typically spans from November to February, they practice six days a week—Monday through Saturday—for two hours each day. Additionally, they continue to train during the off-season.
Pre-season begins at the beginning of the school year and typically consists of various forms of conditioning such as weights and cardio.
With their third consecutive Bay League Champion title under their belt, the team is competing in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) playoffs. They beat West High School, 44-32, Feb. 16 and advance to the quarter finals to play Viewpoint School on Friday, Feb. 19.
“It is such an exciting season to finish my four years on. Even with all the bumps in the road we had because of COVID-19,” PEN senior Kellie Au said. “I love playing with these girls, and though going through playoffs is always nerve-wracking, it is all about leaving everything on the floor. Continuing on to CIF quarter finals gives me flashbacks to our sophomore year run, and I can only hope to go even further this year.”