Basketball teams shoot for new goals this season


Lili Loney

Small forward Amari Gray tries to drive around a defender for the Cal High men’s basketball team. The Grizzlies are off to a hot start, going 7-3 so far and placing third last weekend at the Dublin High Tournament.

Dylan Allen, Staff Writer

Cal High’s basketball teams are in full swing, as both the men’s and women’s varsity teams have winning records early in their first full season since 2019. 

The basketball programs are looking to flip the switch this year, as they were unable to gain any traction last year during a shortened pandemic season of only 14 games in the spring. 

Now, both squads will be able to play their full 26-game schedule during their regular winter season. Although both teams are constantly reminded of the pandemic because players are required to undergo COVID-19 testing every week, masks are not required to be worn during games as they were last season. 

Here’s a breakdown of each team.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s team brought up a new head coach last year in Steve Ohlmeyer, and this will be his first full season of coaching the varsity team. Cal also picked up two junior transfers, one from Dougherty Valley and the other from Bishop O’Dowd. 

This varsity team is pretty young, as they have only five seniors on the roster, but all their young players gained valuable experience during the shortened pandemic season of 2020.

That experience is paying off so far as the Grizzlies are off to a 7-3 start, highlighted by a third place finish at the Dublin High Tournament last weekend. 

So far the starting lineup is mostly centered around their younger players. Sophomore G2 Tom and junior Kellen Torrey switch at the point guard and shooting guard positions, as both can play each. Bishop O’Dowd transfer Amari Gray starts at small forward, while junior Ethan Younger usually plays center. 

“We’re still really young, but we’re definitely getting better and competing more, and I think we have turned a corner,” Ohlmeyer said. “One thing we have this year that we didn’t have last season is experience. That shortened season gave them a lot of experience, which is very important as we had six sophomores and one freshman on varsity last year.”

Ohlmeyer hopes that this year the team can come together and really build a solid foundation of chemistry. 

“It’s interesting, watching the players cultivate relationships that thrive on and off the court,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to see them start trusting each other.”

Ohlmeyer went to Cal High and played basketball for the Grizzlies, and this is one of the main reasons that he accepted the varsity position last season.

“For me, it was a really big bucket list item, coaching at the school I played at,” Ohlmeyer said. “One of my favorite things about coaching is watching these kids develop and then having adult relationships with them.”

Along with wanting to build a solid foundation for these kids’ futures, Ohlmeyer has a goal set on making the playoffs. 

“I’m hoping we can make the NCS playoffs, and one thing that will be huge in our upcoming games will be the return of Adam (Zalmai),” Ohlmeyer said. 

Zalmai, a junior, has been out for the start of the season with an ankle sprain, but is hoping to return by the end of the month.  Zalmai will hopefully be able to return right back into the starting lineup, and from there, the junior leader will be able to make an immediate impact.

Senior Garrett Bullock said the team has set a few goals so they’re successful this season.

“Our goal as a team is really just to develop, come together as a team, and execute our game plan”. 

Women’s Basketball

For the women’s team, the Grizzlies are led by their superstar senior Kelly Tumlin, who plays both guard positions and recently scored her 1,000th point for the Grizzlies. Along with Tumlin, the other leaders on the team include senior guard Karlie Anthony, sophomore guard Lauren Grgurina, and freshman Sofie Addiego. 

Tumlin’s mindset for the rest of the season is to have a winning mentality and to give full effort each game. This mindset of hers rubs off on her teammates, and this is why she is the leader of this squad. 

Although Tumlin is the main force for opposing teams to deal with, the other leaders on this team have contributed to a solid start for the women’s team as they have opened the season 5-3. The current starting lineup has been Tumlin at the point, Anthony at shooting guard, Grgurina at small forward, junior Mia Ziblatt at power forward, and Addiego at center.

One of the highlights in the young season is when Tumlin hiut 1,000-point mark in an away game at Fremont on Dec. 1. She’s been on varsity since freshman year. 

“It was fun. It was at an away game in Fremont, but it was still pretty cool,” said Tumlin, who hopes to play next year in college. “It hasn’t fully hit me yet that I reached 1,000 points, but it will at some point.” 

Both teams are hoping to  flip the narrative that has surrounded Cal basketball the last few years, as they are both getting better every game and learning to compete so they can do well in their league matchups.

 “I feel like we’ll do pretty good in the league, as we’re getting over a little learning curve right now,” Anthony said. “We’ve been competing well and I think once the league games come we’ll be at the level to play and compete at a high level.”