Ric Garcia knew there was no time to waste when he accepted the job as head coach of the Carson High girls basketball team at the end of October
And that was just preparation to put a team on the court. Mission accomplished. The Senators have two games under their belt now, and while Garcia says there's still plenty of work to be done, he's looking forward to the challenge.
But that's just the coaching aspect of the job because Garcia and his program have also undertaken the chore of raising funds for two tournaments they will participate in later this month - The Bishop's School Above the Rim Prep Classic on Dec. 19-23 in La Jolla, Calif., and then the 15th annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic in Juneau, Alaska, on Dec. 27-30.
Both tournaments are late additions to the Carson schedule and the Alaska trip only came up the first week of November after Garcia learned of an opening in the Capital City Classic being hosted by Juneau-Douglas High. Of course, the change in travel plans meant some quick footwork was needed to get some fundraisers in place.
"The coaching part is fun. This other stuff, I'll be glad when that goes away," Garcia said with a chuckle, referring to the fundraising.
The major project right now is putting out the game programs for both the girls and boys basketball teams, which will be distributed at home games this season. That has meant getting out to solicit advertising - ads will still be accepted until the deadline on Friday, according to Garcia.
"We've been putting all that together and so far the response has been very good," Garcia said. "The community has been really good in supporting us.
"It's taken a little longer than we anticipated. We had hoped to have it ready for our first game, but things didn't work out," added the coach, whose Senators played their home opener against defending Northern 4A champion Reed on Tuesday night.
Another project involves the sale of Carson basketball attire and a camp will be held later in the year, according to Garcia.
"Some parents are selling sweatshirts and T-shirts," he said. "One thing we're trying to do (with the sweatshirts and T-shirts) is develop some spirit for both the boys and girls teams."
Both tournaments are expected to provide quality experiences for the Senators, who by then, expect to be bolstered by the return of 6-foot-2 senior post player Nicole Scott.
"We're trying to make it so girls are attracted to the program and traveling to play against great competition is one way to do that," Garcia said.
They are scheduled to play five games at the Above the Rim Tournament, starting on Monday, Dec. 19 with a 6:40 p.m. meeting against Ironwood (Glendale, Ariz.). The Senators will play Vista del Lago (Moreno Valley, Calif.) at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Gardena (Calif.) at 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Mt. Carmel (Calif.) at 8 p.m. on Thursday and El Camino (Oceanside, Calif.) at 10 a.m. on Friday.
After taking a very brief rest at home, the Senators will travel north to Alaska the day after Christmas. For freshman forward/guard Blake King, this will be a homecoming trip since she just moved to Carson City from Juneau this year.
"We found out the coach up there needed another team for the tournament, but we only found out a week before the season started. We looked into it, they gave us some traveling money to come up there. We figured this was a great opportunity to go up there and see some great competition, plus see some beautiful scenery."
The Senators are scheduled to open against a team from Australia at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27; followed the next day by a 1 p.m. game against Wasilla (Alaska).
On Thursday, Garcia said the team will get a chance to tour the area, including a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier. There are also special activities, including a banquet and dance that evening for the girls and boys teams participating in the tournament.
"It's set up as a fun day for all the teams," Garcia said.
The Senators will play their final game at 6 p.m. on Friday night, Dec. 30, against the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears, Alaska's defending 4A state champions.
"They're telling us we'll have 1,500 to 2,000 fans in the stands when we play," Garcia said. "That had as much as anything to do with us deciding to go up there because we don't get many opportunities to play in front of crowds like that."
Unless it's at the regional or state tournaments.
"We're hoping," Garcia said.
The Senators opened their season with a 52-30 loss at Galena last Tuesday. Despite only having had their head coach for a little over 30 days, they were aided by the work of assistant coach Wayne Nash, who directed the fall conditioning activities and also helped get the fundraising activities started, according to Garcia.
Now, the Senators are looking to move forward.
"Every day we get a little better," Garcia said. "We're just trying to get ready for later in the season. We're not worried about wins and losses this month, so long as we can get ready for January and February."
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220