Back to Fruit Home
Back to Teams' Page
Have better pictures or want to add something?
This was an unpredented team to coach and work with. While the team had its squabbles and arguments, when it came down to it, everyone pulled together. Good team spirit doesn't necessarily make a winning team, but its opposite can make a team a loser.
We had one bona fide superstar in Peaches Smith, but the talent just went on and on. In my humble opionion, YHS had the deepest team, A and B, with players such as Ericka Smith, Crystal Whittaker, Kim Brafford, the two Johnson sisters, any one of which could turn a game around offensively. Often overlooked, also, was great team defense and rebounding. For most of the season, the B team gave up fewer than 10 points per game. As for rebounding, we set that as a goal, so its likely no suprize that sometimes we usually outhustled faster teams and outmuscled bigger teams. Good rebounding means more shots, and the team that shoots the most, unless the other team shoots exceptionally well (example: ASIJ at tournament), usually wins.
We were deep in another way: coaching talent. Coach Crawford did an excellent job with our A team while Coach White and Coach Smith did an excellent job with the B team with assistance from Coach Washington. Not only were these excellent coaches, they were also excellent people. Then there were many parents who simply spent a lot of time working with their girls. To borrow Coach Crawford's expression we were, in terms of parents and coaches, simply "blessed."
I could go on and on, but I think this team put the team in teamwork. Everyonne chipped in, and that's what made our kids champions. What's for next year: Quadpeats? I hope so.
On Saturday, March 14th the YHS Middle School basketball teams continued to rack up the wins. The B team (7th grade) defeated St. Maur's B team 30-0. The 7th graders featured a very well-rounded attack with the most points coming from Whitney Johnson (6), Erika Smith (4), Enjoyili Wynn, and Jameika Price (8). Wyn pulled in the most rebounds for the 7th graders while Price came up with 4 steals.
St. Maur's A team proved a tougher challenge as they led at the first quarter and only trailed by two at the half. As the game went on, however, the Panthers played better defense and dominated the boards with Erica Crawford nailing down 13 rebounds. Offensively, guard Peaches Smith (29 points) and Kim Brafford (12 points) tamed the Januars as the Panthers went on to win 54-31.
------------------------------------------ YHS Defeats ISSH -----------------------------------------
On Saturday, March 21 the YHS Middle School Girls' Teams continued their undefeated seasons with wins over ISSH. In the B game, the "picket fence" defense of Shannon Viturbo, Jameika Price, and Jennifer Mathews completely shut down the Symbas. For the Panthers, Mathews (10) and Britney Johnson (8) led the scoring while Enjoulli Wynn (2), Dominque Mack (2), Erick Smith (4), Shannon Viturbo (2), Whitney Johnson (2), Anna Johnson (2), and Price (2) all scored. The Panthers declawed the Symbas 34-9.
The A team game really counts as two games. It took the Panther starters only about 10 minutes to demolish the Symbas with Peaches Smith (15), Crystal Whitaker (8), Kim Brafford (4), and Erika Crawford (4) leading the scoring. Brafford generously dished out 6 assists while Crawford dealt another 5. With the Panthers far ahead, the "clean-up crew" took over with guards Nicole Reinert (8) and Amanda White (8) directing the attack. Desire Washington (4), Denaline Stewart (2), and LaToya Wilson (4) all added points with Wilson grabbing 7 rebounds and Reinert another 6. The Panthers went out to defeated ISSH 59-18.
5 up and 5 down: The YHS Panthers Middle School Girls' basketball teams remained undefeated in season play, easily defeating both Zama and Kinnick.
The B team defeated Zama 20-10 in a defense-dominated game. Enjoulli Wyn (5), Britney Johnson (4), and Whitney Johnson (4) led Panther scorers while Erika Smith led all rebounders with 5. The Panthers next downed Kinnick 23-7. The 7th grader Panthers have not given up more than 10 points in a game.
The A team defeated Zama 33-11 in a game that required only 10 minutes from the starters before the Clean-Up crew finished off the Trojans. Erika Crawford scored a season high 11 points and landed 5 rebounds, Peaches Smith added 10, and Desiree Smith grabbed 5 rebounds. YHS A defeated Kinnick 35-22 with Peaches Smith (14) and Kim Brafford (15) scoring nearly all the Panther points. Look for the mighty Panthers to finally play a home game after Spring Break.
By: Kiku Catania
The A team consists of all 8th graders. The players on the team are Kim Bradford, Brenda Brown, Erika Crawford, Nicole Reinert, Peaches Smith, Denaline Steward, Desiree Washington, Crystal Whitaker, Amanda White, Sophie White, and LaToya Wilson.
The A team is also undefeated with their record being 5-0. The scores on their games are 27-8 over ASIJ, 54-31 over St. Maurs', 59-18 over ISSH, 33-11 over Zama, and 35-22 over Kinnick. The top three scorers of the A team are Smith who averages 16.2 points, Bradford who averages 8.2 points and Crawford who averages 4.6 points per game.
The Panthers won their first home game on Saturday, April 18, against the CAJ Knights. They have three more games, in this season, two of which are away. They have one more home game on May 2.Come out a support your team.
This year the team is looking forword to winning the tournament to be held on May 9th. For the A team tournament three of the B team members will be bumped up to play in the tournament.
Good luck to the A team for the rest of the season and for the tournament.
A total of five "undefeated" basketball teams went into battle Saturday, and when the smoke cleared only two remained.
The YHS B team defeated undefeated NIS by a score of 27-16. Whitney Johnson led YHS scorers with 10 points and added 6 rebounds. Guard Shannon Viturbo put in another five points (and 5 boards) while Sakura Fuquoa (6) and and Erika Smith rounded out the scoring. The B team then lost its very first match of the season (22-18) to ASIJ. Johnson (7), Smith (6), and Danielle Washington (3) led YHS scorers in a battle that went down to the final seconds while Fuquoa led all rebounders with 5. This leaves ASIJ B as the only undefeated B team....or does it? As you will recall, YHS B beat ASIJ B the first week of the season, and yet ASIJ claims to be undefeated. ASIJ is unwilling to play YHS again, so determining the "better team" may have to wait until 1999.
As for NIS A, they were widely predicted to defeat YHS A. They were good, indeed, but..... not good enough, losing to YHS 37-22. Erika Crawford led YHS scorers with 11 points while Peaches Smith (9), Crystal Whittaker (8), and Kim Bradford (7) and Enjoulli Wyn (2) also added points. The Panthers, though, won on the boards with Brenda Brown (8), Crawford (8), and Nicole Reinert (6) simply outhustling and outmuscling the Vikings. The Panthers also dumped ASIJ 41-18. Smith slammed in 23 points, Crawford another 6, aided by Jeniffer Mathews (4), Brown (2), Brafford (2), and Whittaker (2). Again, Panther rebounding led the way with power forward Reinert (6), Wynn (6), Crawford (5), and Smith (7) helping YHS outrebound the bigger Mustangs almost 2-1. Come cheer on the Panthers Saturday as they player their final home games Saturday 1000.
YHS girls B basketball team rolled on Saturday en route to 34-6 shelling of Seisen B. Witney Johnson, again, led all scorers with 8 points, Shannon Viturbo added 6, La Toya Wilson 4, and Erika Smith another 4. The Panthers out-rebounded the Phoenix by a towering 49-3 margin with Dominick Mack (8), Desiree Washington (7), Wilson (6), Johnson (5), and Ann Johnson (5) grabbing the most. The Panthers took SIX times as many shots from the floor as Seisen. The B Panthers end the season 8-1, tied with ASIJ B.
The YHS A Panthers tuned up for the upcoming tournament with a 58-18 burning of Seisen A. Kim Brafford (14), Peaches Smith (12), Erika Crawford (6), Crystal Whittaker (6), and Jennifer Mathews (8) led the scoring. Brenda Brown added an impressive 10 rebounds to lead all rebounders. The Panthers biggest edge, however, came in unselfish passing: where the Panthers topped Seisen 15-0 in assists. The A Panthers complete an undefeated (9-0) season and will compete Saturday in the A tournament.
It's official: The YHS B Panthers have been invited to attend the A tournament. This a VERY high honor as likely no other B team will receive such an invitation, and this honors the quality of YHS's B team. Congratulations to B team coaches Mr. Smith and Mr. White and members: Sakura Fuquoa; Anna Johnson; Whitney Johnson; Dominique Mack; Danelyne Smith; Erika Smith; Shannon Vitarbo; Danielle and Desiree Washington; Sophe White; and LaToya Wilson. Cheer YHS A and B as they gear up for Saturday's middle school basketball tournament!
Yep, after enduring an exhausting four-game ordeal, the mighty YHS A team won the middle school girls' basketball tournament to finish the season with a perfect 13-0 record. Congratulations to Coach Crawford and the following members of the YHS A team: Kim Brafford (g), Brenda Brown (f), Ericka Crawford (c), Brittany Johnson (f), Jennifer Mathews (g), Nicole Reinert (f-g), Peaches Smith (g), Amanda White (g), Crystal Whittaker (f), Enjoulli Wynn (c), and Manager Jellymae Limos. The entire team, A and B, deserves credit for working hard to keeping the trophy at its rightful home: YHS!
YHS Threepeats, Winning Middle School Girls' Basketball Crown
No one quite knows, yet, how many basketball championships the Bulls can win consecutively. On the other hand, Yokota High Schools' Middle School Girls' Basketball may give them a run for the money as YHS "Threepeated" the Kanto Plains championship en route to a perfect season. Unlike the Bulls, the Panthers could only count on one player returning from the previous championship season and a totally new coaching staff of head coach Daniel Fruit, A team Coach Nate Crawford, and B team Coaches Doug White and Gary Smith
On Saturday, May 9, the Panthers did something the Bulls may never even attempt: They won four consecutive basketball games on the same day! Commented their head coach, Daniel Fruit, "All season long we were the team to beat. We've behind four or five times, but we always found a way to win. Some teams found out today just how many ways we can beat them."
The format of the tournament provided a special challenge. Each team had to play two pool games. Then the top of each pools played two more times to determine the champion, meaning each team had to play four times-all on the same day. The tournament's location, Yokusuka, also added a long 2 hour bus ride on top of four games to make a grueling ordeal.Commented Fruit:
"The way they set up the tournament, meant that each team that played us had nothing to lose and everything to win, and every team that wanted to win had to have a plan to play us. So teams spared nothing against us."
The Panthers came into the tournament as the top seed with a 9-0 record. No team had come within 10 points of the Panthers all season though several had come within 15 points.
YHS opened its title defense against Seisen, a team they'd defeated by 40 points a mere week earlier. Though Seisen played much better, the Panther starting five (guards Peaches Smith and Kim Brafford; center Ericka Crawford; and forwards Crystal Whittaker and Brenda Brown) soon gave YHS a confortable lead. Then the second five (center Enjoulli Wynn; forwards Nicole Reinert and Britney Johnson; and guards Jennifer Mathews and Amanda White) played the remainder. In only 10 minutes of play Smith put in 16 points. Wynn added another 6 while Brown led all rebounders with five. YHS coasted to a 24-11 win.
Next the Panthers faced CAJ, a team who'd troubled them 3 weeks earlier. This time, however, CAJ had to play after losing an upset to Seisen and came out exhausted. The Panthers came out fast-breaking and quickly built an 18 point lead. The zone offense of the second five then slowed the game. Brafford led all scorers with 8 points, while Smith, Reinert, and Brown each added 6 more in a well-rounded team effort. YHS cruised to a 41-21 effort than made them the winners of their pool.
The next game proved the toughest of the tournament. ASIJ came into the game fresh off an upset of third-seeded St. Maur's. ASIJ came out fired up and shooting above 80%. They unleashed a full-court press and double and, at times, even triple-teamed Smith. At the half, they led by 5 points, primarily due to turn-overs by the rattled Panthers. In the third quarter, however, Smith went to work, putting in 8 points, press or no, so that the Panthers led by 2 at the end of the quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Panthers managed to pull away, at one point leading by as many as 11 points, as the Mustangs started to run out of gas. YHS's second five finished the game as ASIJ, never quite giving up, closed to lose by only five points (44-39). In the end, however, ASIJ couldn't quite stop Smith, who put in 14 points and had no answer for center Crawford who put in 14 points. The Mustangs shot an incredible 63% from the floor, but the Panthers shot an even better 67 as well as hitting 100% from the free-throw line.
"It was a wild game," commented Coach Fruit. "They obviously came in with a strategy to beat us and to stop Peaches. Undoubtedly, ASIJ played its best game of the year, but still we were better."
The final game proved an anti-climax. Throughout the season YHS had anticipated a rematch with NIS A whom they had defeated earlier 37-22,. NIS's only defeat. NIS's highly touted guard, Sae, however, injured herself earlier in the day. Nor did NIS attempt it's much-feared full-court press, sticking to a zone. YHS came out running with Whittaker putting in 8 points in the first quarter alone. By the second quarter YHS's lead had ballooned to 24-4 at which point the second five took over. YHS needed little more to win 36-18. Whittaker led the Panthers with 12 points, Smith add another 10, and Reinert added four more. The Panthers concluded the season a perfect 13-0.
YHS Wins Third Straight Middle School Girls' Basketball Title
YHS won it's third straight middle school girls' basketball title, coasting to a 36-18 victory over second-place NIS. The final game proved something an anti-climax. Earlier in the season, the Panthers had defeated the previously unbeaten Vikings 37-22. The Vikings, however, had kept YHS's feared guard, Peaches Smith, below 10 points, while their "anti-Peaches," (?) Sae had chipped in 7 of her own. In that game, however, the Panthers front-court game, centered around center Crawford and the Panther fast-break beat the Vikings. Sae, however, injured herself earlier in the day. In her absense, the Vikings stuck to a zone defense, and the running Panthers ran off to a lead that ballooned as high as 20 points before YHS put in its substitutes. YHS forward Crystal Whittaker, often the "fast" in the Panther fast-break, put in a season high 12 points, Smith added another 10, and forward Nicole Reinert added four more.
Ironically, the quarter finals proved more interesting than the finals. Sans Sae, NIS struggled to overcome a much-bigger Kinnick team that had won the fourth, and probably weakest pool. NIS, however, pulled out the win.
For YHS, the toughest game of the day proved ASIJ. The Mustangs upset third-seeded St. Maur's. They came into their quarter-final with YHS well-prepared and fired up. They came out shooting and shot above 80% in the first quarter. They unleashed a tough full-court press against the Panthers who started committed turn-over after turn-over. Whenever Smith got the ball, she found herself double and even triple teamed. It was difficult to recognize this as the same ASIJ team YHS humbled 41-18 just two weeks earlier in a game that wasn't as close as its score.
Commented YHS's assistant (and A team) coach Crawford: "It's just one of those game when everything's falling for them." At the half, ASIJ led 22-17. The Panthers, however, did not give up. Despite the Mustang press, Smith put in 8 points in the third quarter while ASIJ had to foul to stop YHS's front line of Crawford and forwards Brenda Brown and Nicole Smith. By the fourth quarter, YHS had opened up a ten point lead. When YHS put in its second five, however, ASIJ proved that it still had something to give, closing at the end to lose 44-39, the closest any middle school came to YHS all season. ASIJ shot a superb 63% from the floor. YHS, however, shot 67% as well as 100% from the free throw line.
"It was a great game. ASIJ has a great rivalry with us," commented Coach Fruit, "one that my B team will be only too happy to continue next season. This year, however, YHS showed that we have the edge."
En route to the final game, YHS won its pool, defeating Seisen 24-11 and CAJ 41-21. In both games, YHS starters (guards Smith and Kim Brafford; center Crawford; forwards Whittaker and Brown) played only about 10 minutes. YHS's second five (guards Jennifer Mathews and Amanda White; forwards Nicole Reinert and Britney Brown; center Enjoulli Wynn) finished them off. Against Seisen Smith put in 16 points, Wynn added another six while Brown led all rebounders with 6. Agaisnt CAJ, Bradford put in eight while Smith, Reinert, and Brown each added 6 more in a well-rounded team effort.
FINAL TOURNAMENT STANDINGS (*to my knowledge) 1. YHS (4-0) 2. NIS (3-0) 3-4 Kinnick and ASIJ 5-6 St. Maur's and Seisen 7-8 JIS and Marist Academy 9-10 Zama and CAJ 11-12 YHS B and ISSH
----------------------------------------------- From the Panther Press --------------------------------------------
YHS Wins Third Straight Middle School Girls' Basketball Title
"People talk about teamwork, but some of them don't quite believe it. I'd like to think that our showing this season kind of proves its importance," so commented Coach Fruit, head coach of YHS's middle school girls' team.
YHS Middle School Girls' won a third-straight middle school girls' Kanto Plains title en route to a 13-0 perfect season. It wasn't quite as easy as it looks. 4 teams led the Panthers during the course of the season: St. Maur's, Kinnick, CAJ, and ASIJ. Always, however, YHS prevailed.
On Saturday, May 9, the Panthers met their final challenge, a grueling 4 game tournament. The tournament format included a 3 game pool play followed by 2 games between pool winners and yet a fourth game to determine the championship. Besides this, YHS had to ride the busses to Kinnick, the tournament site, meaning yet another 600 departure for "the road team." The only concession to YHS's perfect regular season record (9-0) was a break between each game. The format meant that the last two games would be played "full out" and every team knew that to win the tournament, they would have to face YHS, so every team came with a plan to stop YHS.
First YHS faced Seisen. Kinnick's tournament organizers held a coin toss to determine which off two totally defeated teams (0-9) would have the pleasure of facing YHS, and Seisen lost. YHS won with no particular difficulty. As per YHS's tournament strategy, the starting five: Ericka Crawford (c); forwards Brenda Brown and Crystal Whittaker (f); and guards Peaches Smith (g) and Kim Brafford (g) came out fast-breaking and built a lead. Then the second five: Enjoulli Wynn (c); forwards Nicole Reinert and Britney Brown; and guards Jennifer Mathews and Amanda White slowed the game down and went into a zone defense. Against Seisen Smith put in 16 points, Wynn added another 6 while Brown led all rebounders with 6. YHS went on to win 24-11.
Next, YHS played a disheartened CAJ. CAJ had lost to Seisen, the third pool member, and seemed tired. Again the Panthers starter jumped off to an early lead while the second five finished the game. Against CAJ, Brafford put in eight while Smith, Reinert, and Brown each added 6 more in a well-rounded team effort. This CAJ team played much worse than the one YHS beat by 15 points three weeks earlier.
Commented Fruit: "The second five really showed their value in these first two games. I knew the last two games would challenge us, and I didn't want our starters to come into the games tired. That part of our strategy worked."
YHS had expected to play St. Maur next, but ASIJ had other plans. After upsetting the third-seeded Jaguars, ASIJ came into their match with YHS fired up and ready. They also came out shooting, dropping jump shot after jump shot while they unveiled a full-court press; meanwhile, they double, and, at times, triple-teamed Peaches. Their aggressiveness riled the Panthers who turned the ball over and over again. At the half, ASIJ led YHS 22-17 and seemed poised for a major upset. Time-outs didn't seem to help YHS either.
In the third quarter, however, YHS started to rally. Smith put in 8 points in the quarter while the Mustangs only seemed able to stop Ericka Crawford by fouling her while Brown and power forward Nicole Smith came up with important rebounds. Also, the Panthers were fresher, and by the end of the period led. In the fourth quarter, the Panthers opened up a ten point lead, and their zone defense started to stifle the hot-shooting Mustangs. With a lead up to twelve, YHS could safely put in its second five-or so it seemed. ASIJ proceeded to cut YHS' victory margin to a scant 5 points even hitting a last shot at the buzzer. This team barely resembled the one YHS nailed 41-23 just two weeks earlierin a game where YHS could've easily scored 20 more.
Still, when they needed to win, YHS had the players and the heart to stop ASIJ.
"It's hard to beat a team shooting 63% from the floor," commented Fruit. "Unless you're YHS. We shot 67% and 100% at the line. It's a great rivalry, and my B team is already making plans to continue it next year."
The title game proved a disappointment. NIS, vaunted as the team to beat YHS, came to the match tired from having barely beaten Kinnick and with their star guard, Sae, the "anti-Peaches," injured and out of the line-up. They seemed happy to just be playing in the game. YHS came out running with Crystal Whittaker breakest the fastest and, at one point, opened up a 20 point lead before substituting out the starters. Whittaker put in a season high 12, Smith another 10, and Reinert 4 more.
Fruit creditted his team. "My A team is simply hard to beat. You beat our guards-well, if you can about MATCH our guards, then our front court will beat you as we did to NIS the first time. You beat our front court, our guards will beat you. Beat our man-to-man well then our zone will beat you. Stop our offense, and our defense will stop you. While other teams notice we have a real star in Peaches Smith, they find out our depth at their peril.
"I would like to thank my B team, not only for developing three extremely valuable players but for playing hard against us in every single scrimmage. Other teams don't have that. They're a great B team and will be a powerful A team next year.
"Also, I'd like to thank Coach Crawford, who co-coached the A team with me, and Coaches White and Smith, who coached the B team, as well as providing the A team's offense. Also, I'd like to thank the many, many supportive parents who came and worked with their children. We adults worked together as a team. With that kind of support, and this great group of girls, it's hard not to win games."