Darvel Cullors starts first season as AHS girls basketball coach

ATASCADERO — Darvel Cullors is the new coach of the Atascadero High School girls basketball team. He has been part of the girls basketball program for the past two decades. Now is his chance to call the shots at the varsity level.

“I started with the freshman in the early 90s, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Cullors said. “I was here when Paul Hill was here, Randy Wright, I’ve watched a lot of good coaches come through here and am looking to fill some shoes.”

Cullors has coached either the freshman or junior varsity team for more than 20 years. His opportunity to coach varsity came after long-time coach Jim Stecher, who started the program, retired after the season last winter.

“It’s great, I’m enjoying it,” Cullors said. “You always dream of this moment and then when it comes true, you get nervous, but I’ve got a great staff behind me. I’ve got people pushing me and a lot of people in the community saying, ‘Hey man, great job.’ I am happy and I’m excited to see what is going to happen.”

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Atascadero senior guard Olivia Sprouse tries to break the full-court press.

This past weekend, the Greyhounds hosted their annual Ruth Doser Girls Basketball Tournament. They invited several teams from the Central Valley. Farmersville, Porterville, North Bakersfield and Sanger made the trip to Ewing Gymnasium to meet Mission Prep, Cabrillo, Santa Maria and the Hounds in a round-robin style tournament. 

Atascadero was short-handed in their tournament, as is often the case this time of year with seasonal touches of flu coupled with family vacations planned around the holidays.

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Atascadero guard Savannah Shoemaker looks to pass out of a double team during Saturday’s game against North Bakersfield

The Greyhounds went into their first game with only seven girls dressed to play. North Bakersfield recognized it and pressed the entire game. Atascadero stayed in the game, but could not close the gap late and fell 56-49.

“I was missing a couple of girls this weekend that were either out sick or just not here. We don’t have a really big team, but we have a lot of heart,” Cullors said. “Those guards never came out and never got tired, they never even asked to come out, so I’ve got some tough guards. Once we get in shape and start really trusting what’s going on in the program and trusting the play, we’ll do great.”

The Hounds return second-team, all-league guard Olivia Sprouse for her senior year. She will look to run the offense with fellow guard Savannah Shoemaker and will work the pick-and-roll with center-power forward Lindsay Zillag and hope to have it fine-tuned for the Ocean League. 

In their second game of the tournament, the Hounds faced Sanger and fell 68-40. 

The Hounds are 0-8 on the season and look to pick up their first win when they start Ocean League play on Jan. 10 at home against St. Joseph. 

Ruth Doser Scoreboard

Mission Prep 53, Farmersville 15

Atascadero 49, North Bakersfield 56

Santa Maria 42, Porterville 61

Cabrillo 50, Sanger 48

Famersville 33, Santa Maria 55

North Bakersfield 37, Mission Prep 53

Porterville 67, Cabrillo 22

Sanger 68, Atascadero 40