The Etiwanda girls basketball team is one of those that fell short of a CIF Southern Section championship but gets new life in the state portion of the playoffs which begin this week.
The Eagles (26-2) will travel to San Marcos Mission Hills (29-2) on Friday for a 7 p.m. Open Division showdown.
Sometimes coaches find it hard motivating a team for another run after they just had one but Eagles coach Anders Anderson says his team welcomes the opportunity.
“We have a younger team and we’re still hungry,” he said, “They definitely look at this as a chance to make for an earlier exit from the playoffs than what we wanted.”
Etiwanda was seeded second but lost the Section Open Division semifinal 60-49 to Harvard-Westlake which in turn lost the championship game to top seed Long Beach Poly.
The other reason Anderson and his team are looking forward to a shot at redemption – it will be his last hurrah.
Anderson has said this will be his last season coaching and he has already told his team. He made that decision even before the season started.
The biggest factor is the geographic distance between his children whom he would like to see compete in their respective sports. Daughter Alyssa is playing basketball at UNLV and son Aiden is playing college football in Canada.
Another son Alec is a junior at Etiwanda and he competes in football and wrestling.
“Our family dynamic has changed,” he said. “I want to be able to watch the kids in their sports and my wife and I would like to do some of the things we haven’t been able to do to this point because I was busy coaching.”
Anderson is one of the area’s most successful coaches with a record of 185-37 (.833) that comes despite playing a difficult schedule. His teams went a combined 79-1 in league play and he’ll hand over a streak of 69 straight league wins to his successor.
He took over a good program and helped it to the next level.
“This really was the right time,” he said. “I have enjoyed it but the dynamic in the game is changing too. It’s probably a good time for a younger, more energetic person to take over.”