In recent seasons, the Wendover girls basketball team has been solid, if unspectacular, posting winning records but never quite being able to get over the hump.
The Wildcats may be taking the next step toward being something more than just respectable.
Wendover cruised to a 54-31 win over Tintic in a Region 21 game Tuesday night in Eureka, improving to 14-4 overall and 2-2 in region play, continuing what has been an impressive season so far — and with a team that doesn’t have a single senior on its roster.
“Overall, it’s just been our communication as a team, because we are all best friends,” said Wendover junior Adri Delgadillo, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds on Tuesday night. “This team that we’re playing with now is the team we were playing with in junior high and we’ve all just grown individually and as a team. We’re just so strong together.”
The Wildcats have always been competitive under longtime coach Kate Henderson, whose teams have had winning records in all but two of the past 12 seasons. However, they’ve never won more than 15 games in a season in that stretch, and they’ve faltered when they’ve gotten to the state tournament. Henderson is excited to see whether this year’s team can buck that trend.
“I coached these girls in junior high ball, too, so it’s been six years,” Henderson said. “I’ve really enjoyed watching them grow, and I can’t wait for state this year to see what they can produce. They’re good — they’re really good.”
Tuesday’s game showed why the Wildcats are so optimistic. They opened the contest on a 19-4 run, with Delgadillo accounting for eight of those points with strong post play. Forward Tanya Duran and point guard Yanely Duenas also made things difficult for the Miners (6-10, 2-2), and the Wildcats’ lead only briefly dipped into single digits late in the second quarter before Wendover ran away with things.
“This year, we set a goal, and nothing’s going to stop us from reaching that goal,” Delgadillo said. “As a team, we’ve finally got our image out there — we know how to play and we’ve finally got our game set. From here on out, it’s just about developing that even further and perfecting it.”
Duenas had 14 points for the Wildcats and Duran added nine. Diana Solano had six points and Alana Henderson and Angelica Badillo each had two, with Henderson also pulling down 11 rebounds.
It was the latest in a long line of big victories for Wendover, which currently sits in a second-place tie with Tintic in the Region 21 standings. The Wildcats have had a dozen wins come by double-digits, with 10 of those coming by 20 or more.
Some of that is a product of playing weaker competition, though Kate Henderson believes that it has caused other teams throughout the state to take notice of her squad — a team that will return its entire roster next season and had just one senior last year.
“We actually have teams who are asking to play us, which is a new thought for us,” she said. “Before, it was like, ‘hmm, we don’t want to go to Wendover,’ and now teams are, ‘we want to play you.’”
Delgadillo said it has been fun seeing her team start to make some noise.
“I think a lot of times, it’s easy to forget about us because we’re so far out there,” she said. “We’re trying to go into state and make them remember us.”