The challenges and expectations were unlike any other in Kelli DiMuro's 17 seasons as girls' basketball coach at West Hills Chaminade. With her team's roster filled with top players, she needed to step up her game.
She went to college practices, watched video and developed practice plans to challenge her athletes.
"Oh my gosh, it was so fun," she said. "Right from the get-go, we beat Mater Dei, and we knew it was going to be a special team."
Chaminade went on to win the Southern Section Open Division championship. DiMuro has been named The Times' coach of the year in girls' basketball.
The Eagles defeated Mater Dei twice in single-point games before losing to the Monarchs in the regional final. A 27-4 record and a championship in the toughest division in Southern California validated DiMuro's efforts.
"Professionally, it challenged me," she said. "I feel I had to make sure the kids were staying competitive and staying challenged. We made sure kids had to play their parts."
To be able to knock off Mater Dei twice, DiMuro said, "It took a lot of planning to make sure our game plan could beat their game plan."