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By Marcus D. Smith–
After a long season that was filled with ups and downs, it finally all comes to a close for Mesa Verde girls varsity basketball, and Head Coach Mark Toscano.
This was a season to remember for Toscano who coached the Mavericks girls varsity program to their best record in 15 years. In the process, he saw the growth of budding talents Maleena Ridore and Vanessa Flores, junior forwards, as they were selected to All-League in the Golden Empire League.
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With so many things to be proud of this season, you can add “Coach of the Year” to the list of accomplishments for the Mavericks, as Toscano was named the 2020 Golden Empire League Coach of the Year.
“I was shocked when I was announced as the winner at the All-League meeting,” said Toscano, who was humble in accepting the award from the Golden Empire League, voted by his peers.
The Golden Empire League consists of six high schools: Dixon, Pioneer, Woodland, Mira Loma, Casa Roble, and Mesa Verde. Dixon finished atop the standings going undefeated, 10-0, during GEL play. Pioneer and Woodland were right behind them. They had similar records at 7-3, but Pioneer maintained a better overall record, 22-7.
“I was surprised, there are a lot of good coaches in this league. Woodland and Pioneer did very well. I just didn’t expect to win it with our league and how well the other teams did,” said Toscano.
In this ground-breaking season, there was a sense of confidence that was developed by this team. Somewhere along the journey, there was a switch that flipped and the girls really started playing fundamentally sound basketball.
Chemistry can be a boring subject if you’re not a fan of science, but in sports, chemistry becomes an integral part of what makes up the function of a team.
For Toscano and the Mavericks, they were able to remain solid through tribulations of an up-and-down basketball season. There was blood, sweat, and tears shed this season.
This was a huge stepping stone for Mesa Verde, as Toscano has worked diligently for the past four years to put forth a competitive team to represent the “Verde and orange.”
When it was all said and done, Toscano could only refer back to his team, crediting them for being coachable, eager to learn, and quick to respond.
“I feel great. I feel like my girls well-deserved it.”
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