By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cardozo Eighth Grade Girls Gunning For Title
A group of 10 eighth grade girls at Cardozo Middle School have been playing blacktop basketball since nine of them were in Zac Wilkins' sixth-grade class in 2008.

Their time together has built bonds on and off the court, and generated incredible teamwork in game situations.

The girls, who went 12-2 to win a league title as seventh graders last year, are now on the cusp of perfection.

The Cardozo Eagles were 13-0 as of Monday, and take on eight teams at the league championship tournament at El Portal Middle School in Escalon starting today, Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Wilkins, in his third year of coaching and teaching at Cardozo, knows this year's crop of eighth graders is truly something special.

"They are close friends and they work really well together," Wilkins said. "They have great sportsmanship, and it's just been really fun to teach them and watch them grow."

The team is led by talented travel-ball stalwart Olivia Luu, whose prolific scoring, steals and control of the court has taken Cardozo to new heights in 2010. She is joined on the starting court by a pair of rebounding forwards in Linda Erazo and Emmaly Manriquez and defense-minded guards Sabrina Garcia and Daisy Munoz. The three guards see additional support from a strong bench and reserve shooter Melissa Romero.

Cardozo will likely be on opposite sides of the bracket as Somerset School, who finished runner-ups to the Riverbank program in last year's seventh-grade tourney.

Cardozo sports a deep cast of athletes and students alike, with nearly the entire girls basketball team on Cardozo's honor-roll list.

The Golden Eagles have earned the league's top seed, and host the No. 8 ranked team in Wednesday's opening round. The semifinals are Thursday and finals on Friday, all at El Portal.

Wilkins said he plans to get his whole team in for action during the tournament opener.

"I'm just real excited to get one more chance to coach this team," Wilkins said. "They have worked so hard."