Expectations high as postseason run gets started for La Jolla Country Day on Friday


By Phil Dailey

The La Jolla Country Day girls basketball team are no strangers to high expectations. This season is no different.

After completing the regular season last weekend against The Bishop’s School, the Torreys (25-1 overall) enter the postseason as the hands-down favorite to storm through the rest of the field in San Diego’s Division IV section.

Their first game is scheduled for Friday night against Christian at home. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m..

But for the Torreys, being the favorites to be the top Division IV team in San Diego isn’t at the top of the team’s sizable checklist.

The ultimate goal is to capture a state championship, something that was within reach last season before losing to Los Angeles’ Windward in the state semifinals.

But before the team even thinks about playing in the regional or state tournaments, this team is getting ready for their next opponent.

“We prepare each game. These kids are not cocky,” said head coach Terri Bamford, now in her 13th season with Country Day. “They understand that loss we had last year (against Windward). I don’t feel like this group is beyond the next game, no matter who we play, we’re excited to be there.”

Even if it means they will play teams in their CIF bracket that have little or no chance of beating them. After all, when it came to Coastal-South opponents this season, the Torreys beat those foes by an average of 71-30. And despite the team’s gaudy record, it has not made them starry-eyed.

“There is definitely room for more improvement, everyone is getting better every chance, said Maya Hood, who along with her sister, Malina, will play next season at USD. “We look at this way: We want to be at the top and win state and to do that we have to get better every day we step in the gym. We’re good, but we always want to be better.”

Like in season’s past, Bamford made sure this team would be ready for a postseason run with another arduous nonconference schedule. On the season, the team played many of the toughest teams on the West Coast including Long Beach Poly (twice), Brea Olinda, St. Mary’s (Stockton) and St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) to name a few. The Torreys also took a trip to Phoenix to play in the Nike Tournament of Champions where they came away winners in their bracket.

During the past month, however, the team has not been fully tested. But despite that, remaining focused has not been an issue.

“Playing teams you know you’re gonna beat, for anyone it would be hard to stay focused,” Malina Hood said, “but coach really gets on us and she keeps us focused.”

The team’s top scorer, junior Kelsey Plum, said the team gets challenged everyday at practice despite the lopsided conference scores they have put up the past month.

“I think we have been challenged, Plum said, “but lately it has been a little bit softer but I think it’ll pick up.”

For Bamford, she knows this group has the potential to be one of the school’s greatest, but as the postseason gets under way this week, they have a lot of work to do before they can even think about winning a state title.

“This is a really special team, unlike any that I have coached,” said Bamford, who led the Torreys to state titles in 2001 and 2002. “This team is much better than it was last year.”

— For more information on the CIF tournament, visit