Orinda Youth Hoopsters Win Girls’ Basketball Championship

(Maureen Matthews , Photographer)
The Orinda Bulldogs, after 12 years, win the East Bay Middle School Girls basketball championship, played Dec. 12-14, 2022, at Martinez Junior High. (L-R) Ally Rogin, Lorelei Keenan, Talia Kardon, Annelise Lindberg, Myra Gakhar, Kimia Jowharchi, Sophia Blore, Samantha Murphy, Freida Vierra and Coach Jason Curry. Kneeling (L-R) Sydney Gray, Claire Kennedy and Ava Noga.

    Maureen Matthews was thrilled to see her daughter, Annelise Lindberg, and teammates from Orinda Intermediate School (OIS) win the East Bay Middle School Girls basketball championship, played Dec. 12-14, 2022, at Martinez Jr. High. The team featured seventh and eighth graders.
    “Orinda girl power!” said Matthews. “It had been 12 long years since OIS girls won the coveted basketball championship.
    “Victorious over a tough and talented Martinez team, OIS trailed late in the first half but ultimately prevailed 34-28. The Orinda Bulldogs relied on relentless defense and a pass-first offensive scheme.”
    Player Lorelei Keenan was named to the all-tournament team and Lindberg was awarded the title of the tournament’s most-valuable-player, or MVP.
    Coach Jason Curry explained the difference. “The all-tournament team are the players who really stood out in the tourney,” he said. “After each game, coaches from both teams pick players on the other team they feel made major contributions to the game.”
    Curry, who is also OIS’ head coach of cross country, track and girls’ and boys’ basketball, spoke about what contributed to this win. “The girls took third overall last year, so we set a goal as a team to win the championship this year,” said Curry.
    Lindberg was surprised to win MVP.
    “I didn’t know the MVP award existed,” she said. “I was so exhilarated we won and happy about how our team played that I didn’t even have a second to think about the award. Claire, Lorelei, Ava, Sydney and Kimia were outstanding!”
    She doesn’t take full credit though, for winning. “Two people deserve credit for helping me and that would be my older brother Niklas and Coach Curry,” said Lindberg. “My whole life, Niklas and I would spend many hours working on my shot, my defense and my one-on-one skills.
    “Coach Curry deserves credit for building a team that played so well together in such a short season. Keeping his cool in pressured situations and showing us why team basketball prevails –is what Coach Curry is all about.”
    Lindberg talked about why she loves basketball so much.
    “Wherever the coach wanted me, I would play. I love playing basketball, because it’s a fast-moving game; the quick back-and-forth between offense and defense,” she said. “But most importantly, I enjoy that it’s a team sport. Playing a team sport makes it fun, because I get to connect with many people who share the same interest as me and then watch everyone get better.”

Charleen Earley can be reached at editor@theorindanews.com.

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