When the Southwest High girls’ basketball season started the team faced a bit of uncertainty.
They needed someone to step up and they found it in sophomore Evalyn Cota and new head coach Jon Hinshaw.
Cota finished as the 10th highest scorer in CIF-San Diego Section Division II, third in steals and led her Eagles to a share of the Imperial Valley League title earning her the All-Imperial Valley Press Player of the Year honor.
Hinshaw took over the head coach position a month before the season started and quickly implemented a defensive mind-set with a fast-break offense that turned an uncertain year into a league title earning him the Coach of the Year honor.
The 5-foot-6 guard didn’t know what to expect this season.
“We started with a new coach so we were all pretty scared to see how the season would start but it ended good,” Cota said. “We worked hard every practice and every game and we ended up co-IVL champs.”
It ended well for the sophomore who ended with a 14.3 points per game average and averaged 4.8 steals per game.
She has two more years in her high school career and will look to improve.
“We need to work on our offense more ’cause our defense is pretty sturdy,” she said. “We’ll work on that next year.”
They’ll also look to clinch sole possession next year.
“My next two years, I hope we get IVL champs by ourselves and I’m gonna work hard to get even better and help my teammates out and have a positive attitude.”
Hinshaw was the Southwest junior varsity boys’ head coach last year and was making plans for his boys this year as well when, through other circumstances, he was named the girls’ varsity head coach a month before the season started.
His plan for his boys’ was to be defensive oriented with a fast-break offense. When he moved to the girls, he decided to implement the same plan.
“I convinced myself to do the same,” he said. “I had a lot of people tell me that wasn’t gonna be something I could do with the girls.”
It worked as the Eagles finished 5-1 in league to share the title with Calexico High and 21-7 overall.
The Eagles also finished ninth in points per game average in D-II, third in assists per game, third in blocks per game, second in points allowed per game, top in steals and rebounds.
“Credit goes to the girls. I had my idea in my mind, I felt it would work but it wasn’t until those girls got out there and did it,” Hinshaw said. “I was amazed how well they did.”
Maci Lerno, Southwest