Corey Costelloe mug

Corey Costelloe

Apologies this week if I seem more like a cheerleader than a sports columnist, but if there was ever a time to operate in the gray area, this would be it.

I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with the Tehachapi High basketball teams this season and as the second-half of South Yosemite League play opens this week, the Lady Warriors are in position to potentially capture their first SYL title. It certainly won’t be easy, and this week could make or break those hopes. That’s where you come in.

THS finished the first half of league play at 3-2; those two losses were at Independence back in December and at Bakersfield Christian three weeks ago. This week Tehachapi will host both Independence Wednesday night and BCHS on Friday. You see what I’m getting at here? It’s time that a home-court advantage makes a difference in Tehachapi.

The crowds have been good this season, but this week they need to be better, louder and more intense as Tehachapi potentially makes a move on that league crown. The Lady Warriors are playing well, having won four in a row and they’re garnering some attention.

Just last week The Bakersfield Californian had them ranked fourth in CIF Central Section Division II. As much as that is nice to see, the Division II playoffs are a few weeks away and the SYL stands right in front of them. Tehachapi is one game out of first place and staring down a chance for redemption this week. So, it’s our time to help make that redemption a reality.

If you read about the team’s wins last week, you’ll see where coach Jimi Perkins said the atmosphere at West on Friday was “like a playoff game.” I’m thinking we can do plenty better this week, especially on Friday when Bakersfield Christian rolls through, but honestly it should be a playoff atmosphere for both games. The girls have earned that much this season.

If you’re still living in that “I don’t watch girl’s sports” world, I probably can’t change your mind, but I’ll let you know you’re missing out on something exciting. We often hear “there’s nothing to do in this town,” and yet here’s a group of young women providing a high level of basketball for a very small price. Talk about family entertainment. It’s right in front of you for the taking.

I’ve covered girl’s basketball at the high school, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I levels and the style and talent we’re putting on the floor at THS this season ranks right up there with some of the best I’ve seen. Sure, there are still mistakes and it isn’t perfect, but if that’s a prerequisite for your entertainment than might I suggest taking up live theater, because you won’t find perfection here. Just hustle, grit, determination, heart and a few moments that will make you say “wow.”

Girl’s basketball hasn’t finished better than fourth place since joining the SYL in 2014. They haven’t won a league championship in nearly a decade. We’re on the verge of history here, and it’s high-time we take pride in our part of what could be a historic run.

I’ve been in some of the greatest atmospheres in basketball and while I don’t expect we reach the level of places like Utah State, Gonzaga and New Mexico, I’m pretty sure our local supporters combined with a spirited effort from our THS students can turn our gymnasium into a home court to be reckoned with in the SYL.

If you’re ready to be a part of something special, then this is your week, and these are your Lady Warriors.

Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides in Tehachapi. He can be reached at corey.costelloe@gmail.com. The opinions expressed are his own.