East County Sports

Baker will care for Griffins for Caires

Grossmont coach BRIONNA BAKET




By Nick Pellegrino
Special to East County Sports

RIVERSIDE (11-8-2018) – A major change is coming in the Grossmont College women’s basketball, but it only is temporary.

Following 15 seasons as Griffins head coach, KAREN CAIRES is taking a 1-year sabbatical from operating the successful ballclub. While Caires is on her leave of absence, the program will be in the hands of someone she trusts.
“We have some great alumni who were great players for us,” said Caires. “They’ve learned the game well and I am sure they can take care of the team.”


Replacing Caires, even for just a single season, is former Griffins standout BRIONNA BAKER, who played for the G-House in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, She helped a rebuilding program vault to a second-place finish (19-10 overall record) in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as a sophomore.

Baker continued to play for CSU Los Angeles, earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. Most recently, Baker then attended San Diego State University to pursue her Masters. She served two seasons under Caires before accepting the interim tag.
“As a Grossmont alumnus, I am excited to uphold tradition and bring along staff that has been successful student-athletes at Grossmont as well,” said Baker. “Our program expects growth in skill, IQ and physicality.”
Of course, much is expected from the returning, sophomore class. So the impact of the freshmen could decide id Grossmont can continue to be a contender for the PCAC crown. Two seasons ago, the Griffins shared the South Division title with San Diego City, then fell just behind the Knights in a second-place finish last winter.
Baker’s freshmen roster round-up:
“Chiara Mattern (Ramona) has the ability to drive both ways effortlessly and has a great 3-point jump shot.”
“Tokwa Kwai (Helix) is a small forward with grit, we look forward to her ability to get to the basket and rebound.”
“Andrea Valenzuela is a post with great touch around the rim, she uses her size to finish and rebound efficiently, her 3-point shooting ability is a great asset as well.:
Other Griffins from East County schools include Lesley Black (Santana), Ashlyn Everett and Devann Horton (Ramona), Drew Mendoza (Mira Mesa), Satori Roberson (La Jolla), Jonelle Russaw (Grossmont), and Leanna Watson (El Cajon Valley),
Baker’s assistant coaches will be Maurice Clady and Michelle Fuentes.
Griffins graffiti: The seven schools which will participate in the 31st annual Grossmont Holiday Tournament have been announced. The group includes former state champions L.A. Trade-Tech and Cypress.
The Lady Techsters went 24-7 last season, capturing the South Coast Conference. Meanwhile, the Chargers went 23-8 and placed second in the Orange Empire Conference.
Also entered in the long-time event are Citrus, Cuesta, Santa Ana, Southwestern and Victor Valley.

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