With just one senior and no player taller than 5-foot-11, the Miramonte High girls basketball roster doesn't look all that imposing.
But what the Matadors lack in size and experience, they make up for in quickness and depth.
Using the same up-tempo system that propelled them to a 31-2 record and NorCal Division III title game appearance last season, the Matadors are again streamrolling their opponents on a regular basis.
Miramonte has gone 17-1, losing only to nationally ranked Windward-Los Angeles, while averaging more than 70 points a game.
Coach Kelly Sopak is constantly rotating all 10 of his players as they play an aggressive full-court pressure defense and get out and run on offense.
"I call it a casino defense," Sopak said. "We have all chips in on every possession. If you're not committed, you're going to lose."
Offensively, the Matadors can be tough to stop with their balance. Even Sopak doesn't know where the scoring will come from each night.
Junior Breanna Alford leads the team at 11.1 points per game, but five other players average at least 9.2.
Alford, Carly Gill and Megan Reid are returning key contributors and provide leadership for a team with four freshmen.
One of the biggest challenges on Miramonte's schedule is a matchup with defending Division II state champion Archbishop Mitty-San Jose this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game is part of an intriguing slate of games being
The event, still known as the Campolindo Shootout even though it has moved across Lamorinda, also includes a 6:30 p.m. game between small school powers St. Mary's-Berkeley and defending Division V state champion Brookside Christian-Stockton. At 5 p.m., Berkeley and Carondelet renew their recent rivalry.
Other Shootout games include Campolindo vs. Castro Valley, 10:30 a.m.; Oakland Tech vs. McNair-Stockton, noon; Heritage vs. Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, 1:30 p.m.; and Washington-San Francisco vs. Florin-Sacramento, 8 p.m.
With playoffs just a month away, Sopak is glad for the test that the Monarchs will provide.
"We're going to find out exactly where we are at," Sopak said. "If we play well and beat them, we'll see we really are this good."
REALIGNMENT'S SUCCESS: When the North Coast Section made drastic changes in its most recent realignment period, the idea was to deliver competitive balance. The plan looks to be working.
The Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division has turned into one of the area's best boys basketball leagues.
It's paced by Salesian, the No. 1 team in the Bay Area News Group East Bay poll, but also features No. 5 El Cerrito and No. 12 St. Joseph Notre Dame. St. Patrick-St. Vincent, St. Mary's and Pinole Valley all have overall records well above .500 as well.
Gone are the days when Salesian is crushing teams such as John Swett or Kennedy-Richmond, as it did last year when those teams failed to reach 20 points. Those squads are now in the TCAL Stone Division.
It's a mixed bag of benefits for Salesian, coach Bill Mellis says.
"It's probably only helping us because we're so experienced," Mellis said. "If this was next year, when we didn't have so many returners, it would probably hurt us."
The increased competition is good, but there's additional wear and tear on his players who won't get as much rest during blowouts.
"We'll have to see how this goes, but down the stretch of the season, we could end up playing our guys too many minutes," Mellis said.
The end result, though, is good basketball every night in the TCAL-Rock.