January 12, 2007

The Sky is the Limit for Eastlake’s Sanchez

By John Philip Wyllie

Eastlake High School has long been a power in girl’s basketball and now with the addition of 6-2 senior Erica Sanchez, they are looking better than ever. Sanchez, a solid Division I college prospect, began her stellar high school career at tiny Midway Baptist. Hoping to better showcase her skills and with an eye toward her future, she decided to transfer to Eastlake for her final year of high school hoops. She hasn’t been sorry.

Sanchez ranks among the Titans top scorers with 190 points, is second on the team in rebounding with 117 and leads the 13-3 Titans in blocks with 25. She enjoys playing against the stronger competition she is now facing and she is taking advantage of the additional educational opportunities that Eastlake’s impressive, college-like campus offers.

“Erica works hard and she is very dedicated so she is probably going to be a Division I college recruit,” according to her new coach, Janet Eleazar. “Utah is interested in her and so is Colorado. She is a team player and is very good at blocking shots and rebounding. For a big girl, she is also very good as a three-point shooter. She is going to be somebody to watch in the future.”

At present, Sanchez is focused on bringing a CIF championship home to Eastlake. Currently ranked third among the county’s elite ten, the Titans seem fully capable of realizing that dream. Still it won’t be easy. CIF championships never are.

“This has been a really good, positive change for me,” Sanchez said. “It wasn’t just about basketball although basketball was a big part of it. All in all, the big picture was to get into a bigger and better program both for education and for basketball. At Midway, I was limited to the resources and classes that I could take over there. I am really happy with (the move).”

While adapting to her new teammates and coach has been a challenge, challenges are something that Sanchez thrives on.

“Everything here is so much faster and so much more competitive. It is a totally different game. It has been a big step from Midway basketball to Eastlake basketball,” she added.

As a senior and a highly-touted transfer, a lot is expected of her.

“We have a lot of seniors and a lot of freshman on this team, so most of the seniors have to step up and be leaders. That is what I am trying to do. We try to take control of the games and the practices to help our coach as much as we can.”

It seems to be working. Off to a great start at 13-3, the Titans open league play (where they will be heavy favorites to repeat) tonight.

“I definitely think we can win a San Diego section CIF championship and from there the sky is the limit. We have a really good team with all of the pieces. We just have to bring it together even more and keep working hard. As I said, the sky is the limit.”

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