Girl’s Basketball & Their Winning Culture


Gabby Yang

Jolyn Ding, Sports Writer

There is a specific standard of excellence imperative to achieving the success that the Pinewood girls basketball team has achieved over the past couple years. Despite the ever-changing roster of head coach Doc Scheppler’s team each season, there is one thing that always remains consistent: Pinewood’s undeniable winning culture.

What Scheppler demands from his players never wavers—effort, energy, having a fine-tuned skill set, and maintaining laser-sharp focus are all non-negotiable.

Assistant coach Kiki Nakano pointed out that what sets the program apart is not only its high standards for their players, but also the quality of people that comprise it from top to bottom.

“People matter,” Nakano said. “From the coaches I choose to coach with to the type of players we want in the program…[all of it] is super important. Everyone plays their role…and sacrifices their time and energy to make [it] successful.”

As someone who has been a part of the program since her freshman year, senior captain Jade Ramirez understands the importance of preserving team standards.

“The standards never drop no matter who comes [or] who leaves,” Ramirez said. “[This year,] I want to take underclassmen under my wing… that way when I leave, they can continue where we left off.”

With the current season underway and influx of new players, Ramirez acknowledges that this season will test her leadership abilities.

“As a captain, I have to be someone the team can approach when they need something,” Ramirez said. “I want them to trust me. You have to be on them…but you also need to be comforting and…nurture them.”

As one of the new faces, senior transfer Ava Uhrich wants to step in and make sure her impact is felt immediately.

“I’ve always admired [Pinewood’s] style of play and competitiveness,” Uhrich said. “Because this is my first season [here], I want to contribute to the program and play a part in their success.”

With all the new players, however, comes its challenges. Learning how to be a sponge, as Scheppler calls it, is crucial to growth. Everyone needs to soak up, embrace, and embody everything that Pinewood stands for in order to win.

“It’s going to be [challenging], but we’re excited because of the chemistry we have on and off the court,” Uhrich said.

Along with learning how to play with cohesion and synergy, another quality that often gets overlooked is playing with joy, and Pinewood epitomizes just this.

“You play because you love the game and you love being part of something bigger than yourself,” Nakano said. “There’s a beauty in that, and we have that collective group of people [here].”

When everyone is on the same page and plays with the joy that Nakano mentioned, magical things are bound to happen.