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Dealt a tough one: Golden Valley looking for breakout player within its deck of cards

Don’t expect Matt Thissen to make any radical changes.

The Golden Valley girls coach is well aware his team struggled to score points last season.

GV only topped 50 points twice in 25 games and failed to make the playoffs for one of the few times in Thissen’s 13 years at Golden Valley.

Will the points be hard to come by again this year?

“I hope not,” Thissen said. “All of the stuff we use is the same things we’ve done for years and years.

“Our personnel changes, but we still run the same offense. Last year we just didn’t execute as well as we had in previous years.”

Last year was the first season GV had been without a bona fide go-to player on offense.

Thissen had been fortunate to have players like Christie Bryant, Nicole Sandino, Kim Spinardi and Kelly Leonardo come through the program the previous five years.

Thissen felt he had a star in waiting in Leticia Booker.

However, the junior moved to Atlanta this fall.

GV also lost Krista Copus, who will have oral surgery and will miss the season.Still Thissen likes this group.

He likes their willingness to work hard, listen and play defense.

The closest thing GV has to a go-to player on offense is Porsha Grayson.

The junior is a fast guard who can slash through the lane or get out in front in transition.

“Porsha is not going to leave the court very often,” Thissen said. “She’s in really good shape.

“Potentially, she could be our go-to player. If Leticia was still here, she would be.

“We’ll play with the cards we’re dealt. We’ve moved on.”

Shannon McMillin, Carina Simms, Allison Cruz and Beatriz Naranjo also return from last year’s team.

“We’ll see what happens this season,” Grayson said. “We work hard and play good defense.”

Golden Valley isn’t the only team in the Central California Conference that will be without key players this year.

Merced, which went 12-0 last year in the CCC, will be without MVP Deja Mann (knee) and Erika Marmolejo.

It could make for a wide-open conference race.

“If Deja Mann and Erika Marmolejo were still in Merced’s lineup, they’d be the clear-cut favorite to win league,” Thissen said.

“Losing Leticia and Krista, we probably would have finished in second.

“Who knows now? I guess it will be decided on the court.”

Golden Valley

COACH: Matt Thissen

LAST YEAR: 14-13, 6-6 CCC; didn't qualify for the playoffs.

RETURNING STARTER: Porsha Grayson, 5-7, G

TOP NEWCOMERS: Surman Purewall, 5-6, G; Becky Morris, 5-8, F.

OUTLOOK: Without much size, Golden Valley will look to make the game fast paced with its full-court press. Grayson may have to develop into a scorer to help this team contend for a CCC title.

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