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MCHS Girls Get New Coach, Again

Within 24 hours of their first game, the Mira Costa girls basketball team was handed its third new head coach this season. All things considered, they look good in a 50-47 loss to South Torrance at home.

It’s been a whirlwind the past three weeks for the Mira Costa girls basketball program as the team welcomed their third head coach in less than a month on Wednesday, just 24 hours prior to their season opener against South Torrance.

Miranda Biteler was named as the Mustangs new head coach this week, about 14 days after Trenton Jackson had been announced as the new head coach. Jackson, who'd coached the team at practise under the supervision of Mira Costa staff, abruptly stepped down because he “did not like the commute on the 405 from Santa Monica,” said Mira Costa Principal Ben Dale.

“Coach Jackson was never officially school board approved,” Dale said. “He rejected our offer because he thought that the commute would take too much time away from his small children.”

Several weeks ago, when head coach , Dale told Patch, “Craig decided to step down because he wanted to spend more time with his family.” Takahashi was head coach for the 2010-2011 season and had been an assistant coach before that.

Jackson did not address the team to tell them of his decision, instead Dale informed the team before practice Tuesday.

“The turnover for the interview process was done in about a week,” Dale said. When asked if the commute was ever brought up, he said “I can not speak for coach Jackson other than to say that coach Jackson felt that the commute would just take too much of a toll on his family.”

In its first game of the season on Wednesday, the team lost to South 50-47, committing four turnovers and rushing several shots in the final 1:30 seconds of the fourth quarter. Despite the turnovers, the Mustangs still had several chances to take the lead or send the game into overtime.

"I'm really happy with their effort and the way they were aggressive," said Biteler, who had been Jackson's assistant until his departure bumped her into the lead coaching spot. 

“I think we did good," said junior forward Ashley Reese, "but we just have to adjust to all the new coaching.” Reese had a game-high 12 points for the Mustangs.

“We were just starting to get used to coach Jackson’s style and then Principal Dale told us yesterday [Tuesday] that he wasn’t going to be our coach anymore. It was a big surprise because coach Jackson had not told us anything about not enjoying the commute.

“In fact, it was just the opposite,” Reese continued. “He seemed very excited to be our coach. We all know that was not the real reason," she said.

"We were literally just drawing up plays during our timeouts this game that we had never even done before. I think we can’t get down and just have to keep going forward.”

The Mustangs (0-1) had plenty of opportunities to win the game, after they came storming back from a 34-25 half-time deficit behind the physical play of Reese, sophomore guard Camille Mills and a pair of freshmen, point guard Haley Tojo and forward Meghan Peneueta.  

Peneueta, who seemed to be everywhere, finished with nine points and seven rebounds to go along with two steals, while the hard-nosed Tojo finished with four points and three steals.

“It’s a good experience,” Tojo said of playing in her first varsity game. “I think that we just need to concentrate on our passing and not make so many turnovers and we will be fine.”

The Mustangs, who are one of the few teams in the area who took advantage of the CIF’s decision to move the start of the season up a week, face Long Beach Jordan on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. in the Inglewood Tournament.

nat November 24, 2011 at 08:08 PM
That's what you get when you have principal with no backbone who lets the parents with money & power run the show. The parents now have a clueless coach who can be their puppet along with their spineless principal. In the end, I hope they get what they deserve: a disastrous season!
Martin November 25, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I watched Mira Costa's game against South Torrance and it was certainly a shock to see a once powerful girls basketball program go straight into the toilet. Granted, the new coach is inexperienced, but there is also a serious lack of talent compared to previous teams. Any of the Mira Costa teams of the past 4 years would've crushed that South Torrance team, and I think last year's team did beat South Torrance handily. Considering Mira Costa only lost 4 players to graduation, I am really surprised at how horribly weak the team is.
Coach K November 25, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Mira Costa may have only lost 4 players from last year's team but look at the contributions of those 4 players. They accounted for nearly 70% of the team's total points, 70% of the team's steals, and over 50% of the team's rebounds. Not all 4 of those players were starters either, so it just shows how little the rest of the team was able to contribute, and that "lack of talent" is what you are seeing now. It is possible, even probable, that this is the reason Trenton Jackson decided against taking the Mira Costa job. He was unable to produce successful teams during his last few years at Marlborough as the talent level declined, and he most likely saw the same scenario when showed up and took a look at the Mira Costa team.
SO November 25, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Once again, it's a shame that drama surrounding Costa Basketball dominates the news. Timing, lack of resolve and leadership from the administration again jeopardizes a successful season for these young student athletes. Good luck ladies. Focus on your games and grades. Leave the drama for others to dwell on.

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