This year's Williams High School Lady Vikings basketball team may be a young squad, but head coach Phillip Echeverria has high hopes for the season.
Sophomores make up the majority of the team with nine players. The rest of the team is made up of three seniors, three juniors and one freshman.
"I'm still optimistic and we're going to set our goals high and set them at reaching the state playoffs," Echeverria said. "The last couple of years we haven't been able to accomplish that goal, but that's what we're shooting for."
To qualify for the postseason, the Lady Vikes will need to end the season as one of the top four teams in their section out of 14 total teams.
Helping the Vikes achieve that goal is new junior varsity coach Jet Feliciano, who is also assisting Echeverria with head coaching duties this season.
Feliciano, a new math teacher at the high school, has eight years of coaching experience at Window Rock High School. Feliciano will take over the girls basketball program next year so Echeverria can focus on his athletic director position.
"I think we hired an outstanding individual," Echeverria said. "From what I've seen in the first week of practice, he brings a lot of energy to our program."
The Lady Vikes started practice Nov. 4. Key returning players for the team include Bre Fowler, Miranda Velazco, Tedresa Yazzie, Gabi Giunta and Tyria Harvey.
Echeverria's offensive strategy for the team is to play aggressively.
"We would like to push the ball up the court offensively and shoot lay-ups all day if that was a possibility and we never have to set an offense," he said.
Echeverria also hopes to have fewer turnovers this season, which was a problem last season.
On defense, Echeverria's goal is for the team to play man-to-man defense.
"With man-to-man defense, if the other team's a little more athletic than your team is, then you're going to have to go back into a zone and try to protect the basket in the zone," he said. "I think this year we're a little more athletic and a little quicker and so I think we'll be able to match up with a few more teams than we did last year."
The Lady Vikings will play a scrimmage at Mayer tomorrow at 4 p.m. They open regular season play at home on Nov. 26 against Camp Verde. The junior varsity game starts at 2:30 p.m. and varsity plays at 5:30 p.m.