All-Time All-County Girls Basketball Team

Download complete file: Century Girls BB


The Sentinel All-Time All-County Girls Basketball Team

Sentinel December 24, 2006
(Doc: Century Girls BB)

When Ester Wilson played basketball at SC, the guards guarded, the forwards shot and the centers stayed in the middle of the court. That was it.

Wilson, who graduated in 1955, played a remarkably different brand of basketball than her daughter, Kathy, did 20 years later. Now, her son John is involved with the current generation as the girls coach at Soquel.

In Esther Wilson’s day, the court was divided into thirds, and players were limited to their share of the court. Only two bounces each touch of the ball were allowed. “The center job was so boring,” Wilson said, “I was a forward mostly, so I got to shoot.”

Watsonville and Santa Cruz had girls teams that traveled to play schools like Monterey and Gilroy during the early part of the 20th century–the 1915 Watsonville High yearbook said, ‘girls have taken a great deal of interest in basketball this year.” But by the end of the 1920’s, the traveling teams had been replaced by after-school, intramural contests with the peculiar rules.

The modern era of high school varsity girls basketball in Santa Cruz County started in 1973, thanks to Title IX. Sue Dodge, who was a freshman at Santa Cruz that year remembers the team wore old P.E. uniform tops and old track shorts. By their senior year in 1977, Dodge said the crowds and uniforms improved, and Santa Cruz played in the first girls Central Coast Section tournament, placing third.

“We started out with absolutely nothing.” Dodge said, “but we were very successful.”

The girls’ game has come a long way since Esther Wilson picked up a basketball in the Santa Cruz after-school program. The game has evolved a lot, especially in the past 30 years–when Santa Cruz took the floor in the first CCS girls tournament, there were 14 teams in one division. Last season, 75 teams in five divisions competed at CCS.

Still, after seeing the game change in the county during the past 50 years and watching her daughters and now granddaughters play, Esther Wilson said. she isn’t surprised at how far the game has come. “They’re athletes,” Wilson said. “If they’re taught well, they’ll be fine.”

One of the top six players chosen is Evonne Sandas 1973-1977, guard. Credentials: Player of the year 1977. Led SC to third place finish in first ever CCS girls basketball tournament. Played college basketball at Texas-Arlington. Sandas was the leading scorer for the first dominant county girls team, which lost in the CCS semifinals in her senior year. The team was led by the backcourt of Sandas and Sue Dodge, both of whom went on to play college basketball. “She was the point guard and I was the wing,” said Dodge. “She would run down court and I’d huck it to her. That was the give-and-go. Give it to me and go Evonne.”

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