La Jolla High School girls basketball athlete and coach receive league honors

La Jolla High School freshman Reagan Bennett was named the City League girls basketball Athlete of the Year.
(Courtesy of Todd Bennett)

Rather than take on a pessimistic attitude after a rough start to the season, the La Jolla High School girls basketball team took on a willingness to work.

And when it came time to enter City League play — during which the Vikings play the schools in their league — that work continued to pay off. By the end of the season, the Vikings had claimed the top seed in the City League with a 7-1 league record.

The San Diego City Conference oversees several leagues for each sport. In girls basketball, there are four leagues with five or six schools in each league. La Jolla High is in the City League, along with San Diego, University City, Hoover and High Tech high schools.

Vikings freshman Reagan Bennett was named the league girls basketball Athlete of the Year by the league’s coaches, and her coach, Alex Caceres, received Coach of the Year honors.

In a very short time, La Jolla High School basketball players and twin sisters Reagan and Drew Bennett have made a big impact on their team.

Reagan said she was surprised by the recognition.

“I’m really happy about it, but I really didn’t expect it,” she said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of her,” Caceres said. “For her to be named player of the year as a freshman is a big deal. She’s a talented young player, and we’re looking forward to having her the next few seasons.”

Reagan can play all five positions, and Caceres credited her with “bringing more toughness and awareness of the game.”

The Vikings needed that to endure a tough start to the season, with the girls taking on top teams early on.

“It was a rough start, we had a tough schedule, but that got us prepared for the league play,” Caceres said. “I wanted to see who was out there and who the better teams were. We were outmatched at the beginning, but it got us where we needed to be. We took our lumps, but it was worth it.”

La Jolla High School girls basketball coach Alex Caceres received Coach of the Year honors.
La Jolla High School girls basketball coach Alex Caceres received Coach of the Year honors.
(Courtesy of Alex Caceres)

Once the Vikings started “gelling” and getting some wins, their confidence increased, he said.

“Things started clicking. They put in the work during their practices and conditioning. They started making their free throws and winning,” he said. “The girls worked very hard to get to where they are.”

Reagan agreed, saying the challenging start to the season helped them play a lot better as they reached league competition.

“Everyone improved, as individuals and as a team,” she said. “We practiced so much and played together so much that we naturally got better.”

At the start of the season, Reagan was averaging 20 points per game. Though that number declined slightly during league play, she is considered a top shooter.

She said her strategy is to always be “super aggressive” in getting the ball from the other team.

“The majority of my points were fast-break layups or driving it in,” Reagan said. “We steal the ball, and they don’t have enough time to get on defense, so I would just go. The great thing about the team is that we have a read for when to go.”

Reagan and her twin sister and Vikings teammate, Drew, moved to La Jolla from Washington state in 2021. Reagan said she enjoyed her first season with the Vikings “because I didn’t know anyone when we started, but we bonded. I like being part of this new team and seeing where we can go from here.” ◆