By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A year ago at this time, Hannah Sourek was getting ready for the North Bay League playoffs as the starting center for Santa Rosa High.
The 6-footer is still playing ball, now at the collegiate level for Sonoma State.
Saturday night, Sourek was in action as the Seawolves hosted CCAA leader Chico State. The freshman pulled down a dozen rebounds and scored six points but SSU was on the short end of a 66-48 score.
“Her (Sourek) play was the bright spot for us,” coach Mark Rigby said. “What I liked most is that six of those rebounds were on the offensive end.”
Sourek said the transition from high school ball to the college level has been eye-opening.
“The biggest differences are that everything happens a lot faster and the play is a lot more aggressive,” Sourek said. “Everyone is a lot stronger than in high school and I’ve had to get more physical or else I’d get pushed all over the court.”
Her numbers against Chico were her best of the season. She came into the game averaging two points and two rebounds per game.
As she’s gotten more aggressive, her playing time has increased. Against Chico, she got the first start of her college career and played 26 minutes.
Rigby has had to rush Sourek and his other underclassmen into the fire because three of his front-line players at the beginning of the season are injured.
Marie Sweet underwent ACL surgery, Desirae Sanchez has a bone bruise on her knee and Jamie Capoot is recovering from a stress fracture.
“It’s been tough,” Rigby said. “We’re not the team we were early in the season, but on the bright side our young players are getting experience. That’ll pay dividends the next few years.”
The Seawolves couldn’t match Chico State’s speed and athleticism. On defense, the Wildcats forced several shot clock violations and on offense, they continually beat SSU in transition.
The Wildcats pulled away in the final five minutes of the first half while grabbing a 26-15 lead at intermission. After the break, Sonoma State fell behind by as many as 23 points.
To their credit, the Seawolves kept scrapping, and with 4:34 remaining narrowed the lead to 12.
Chico State, ranked No. 12 in the USA Today NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll, improved to 18-2 and 14-2 in conference.
Annie Ward led the Wildcats in scoring with 12. Monnie Davidson-Mays had 11 and Analise Riezebos, 10.
SSU’s record is 6-14 and 4-12 with six games remaining.
Against Chico, the Seawolves shot 31 per cent from the field while the visitors connected 46 per cent of the time.
Elizabeth Day was the scoring leader for SSU with nine.
Sourek is one of two players from Santa Rosa on the team. The other is Bronte Sheahan, a sophomore who played at Ursuline.
Sheahan averages seven points per game. She didn’t score Saturday in limited playing time.