New Denair Girls Basketball Coach Brings Culture of Winning to Team

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Taryn Garza has been accustomed to success in her basketball career. She started for four years Modesto Christian High School, which annually competed for Sac-Joaquin Section and state championships. She earned a scholarship to the University of the Pacific. After transferring to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she helped that school earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Garza knows how to win.

Now, as a first-year head coach at Denair High, she wants to instill that same confidence and ability into her players.

“They’re very hard-working and very coachable. They have a lot of potential. I’m excited to teach them the fundamentals,” said Garza, who graduated from Cal Poly in May. She had a chance to play professionally overseas, but decided to pursue a coaching career instead.

Garza has no illusions about the work necessary to make the Coyotes competitive in the Southern League. Last year, Denair was 7-14 overall and 3-9 in the conference.

“They’re very athletic and we have some speed,” she said.

As a player, the 5-foot-11 Garza was known as a fierce defender and physical rebounder. As a coach, it’s no surprise that she’s stressing some of those same fundamentals. She often can be found scrimmaging with her players in an effort to give them hands-on advice.

“We’re working on the principles of defense,” she said. “We’re working on our rotations.”

Returning starters Katie Oliver, Katie Hernandez and Destiny Silva give Garza a foundation upon which to build. But as much as instilling a culture of success into her team, the new coach wants them to enjoy their time on the court. It’s a lesson she learned from Faith Mimnaugh, her coach at Cal Poly. Continue reading “New Denair Girls Basketball Coach Brings Culture of Winning to Team” »

Optimism Runs High for Denair Boys Basketball

Denair boys basketball 2015

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Five games in five nights. Thirteen games in 19 days. The three-month basketball season may be a mini-marathon, but December promises to be a sprint for the Denair High boys team. It won’t take long for the Coyotes to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

“My whole thing in December is to define roles. That’s where we’re at,” said fourth-year coach R.J. Henderson. “Everything we do in the first month is to gauge where we are come January and February.”

Henderson begins the season with more depth than he’s ever had. Fourteen players will suit up for the home opener against Stone Ridge Christian – five more than he had on the varsity roster at the end of last season. He is hopeful that will allow the Coyotes to be more aggressive offensively and defensively, and compete for one of the Southern League’s three playoff berths. Denair was 8-18 overall and 4-8 in league play last year.

“We’re going to be more up-tempo, especially when we get to league,” Henderson said. “Talent-wise, we have the players to do that. We want to push the ball up the floor and do the things we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Much of the optimism surrounding this year’s team revolves around senior point guard and captain Isaac Starks. This will be his third season with the varsity. Last year, he averaged 12 points and 4.3 assists per game, and was named to second-team all-league. Henderson has higher expectations this season.

“He’s got the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. He’s one of the two of three best guys in our league at that,” the coach said. “He’s got great range for a high school kid. He’s by far the best shooter I’ve had in my four years here.”

Starks made 40% of his three-pointers in limited action as a sophomore and 35% as a starter last season. Henderson said it will be rare when Starks comes out of a game this year. Continue reading “Optimism Runs High for Denair Boys Basketball” »

Denair High School Hosts Basketball Clinics


Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Denair students who want to sharpen their basketball skills are invited to sign up for free clinics in January and February. The sessions will be conducted in the high school gym by Denair High varsity boys coach R.J. Henderson and his staff. Boys and girls are invited to register. All the clinics are on Saturdays and are limited to 60 players. Students in grades 1 through 5 will have clinics January 10, 2015 and February 7, 2015; middle school students will have clinics January 24, 2015 and February 14, 2015. The sessions will cover basic skills, fundamentals and teamwork. Sign-up sheets are available in the elementary and middle school offices. Each student must fill out a waiver and will receive a pass to an upcoming Denair High School basketball game.

DHS Winter Sports Preview

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

The gym is a busy place these days at Denair High School. The boys and girls basketball teams plus the wrestling team all have begun their winter schedules with an eye toward preparing themselves to compete for Southern League titles in January and February.

Boys Basketball

Despite a 10-player roster, third-year coach R.J. Henderson is confident the Coyotes have improved enough to contend for one of the league’s three spots in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

“I’d like to think the last week or two of the season we’ll be playing for something,” said Henderson, whose young team won just seven games a year ago.

This season, the Coyotes will benefit from a sizeable presence in the middle in the form of 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior center Ryan Galhano, who didn’t play last year. Henderson expects Galhano will be one of the most physical players in the Southern League.

Three other seniors – forwards Dominyc Silva and Chase Vann and guard Vince Fuentes – were named tri-captains.

Henderson said Silva has the mentality and savvy of a “35-year-old city league player.” He called Vann “a good glue guy” and rebounder who does many things to help a team. And he said Fuentes is “probably our best pure shooter with the most range.”

Junior guard Isaac Starks, who played on the varsity as a sophomore, rounds out the starting five. Henderson said he’s the team’s best option to create a shot off his dribble.

The small roster means if one player misses practice, an assistant coach has to step in to have a 5-on-5 scrimmage. Denair’s enrollment already makes it the smallest school in the Southern League. Despite that, Henderson thinks his squad will continue to build a new culture of success. Continue reading “DHS Winter Sports Preview” »