San Ramon Valley High is steeped in basketball tradition.
Both the girls’ and boys’ teams have had many outstanding players in their programs over the years.
This year, another player joins the roster as Natalie Pasco cements her legacy every time she steps onto the court for the women’s team.
Pasco is the leader of a team that is 22-2 overall this year, is one of the best teams in Northern California and the No. 9 ranked team in the state currently.
She is also a perfect example that hard work and desire are the cornerstone of any great player.
“(Pasco) is a hard worker,” San Ramon Valley coach John Cristiano said. “It’s the girl saying, ‘Can I go to the gym? Can you set up a shooting schedule?’
Blessed as a basketball player, Pasco is the complete package.
“She has a basketball IQ that is off the charts,” Cristiano said of his main boss. “She can rebound and can shoot all three as well as anyone.”
Pasco, who is now 5-foot-11, started playing basketball in first grade and has stuck with it ever since. By the time she reached fifth grade, it was just basketball.
Rising through the CYO Basketball ranks, Pasco has been teammates with other seniors since she started as a freshman. Their coach was Cindy Stern the whole time, and she’s also an SRV staff member.
Sadie Carter, Elyse Wilkerson, Allison Stern, Jenna Reed, Lauren Sprague and Kailey Kimball have been with Pasco for quite some time and are constantly creating memories.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Pasco said of the race. “We were able to spend time together and play basketball. It was awesome, fun, crazy and super awesome the whole time.
And that has made Wolves a team to beat this year.
“These girls who have been in university for four years are one of the reasons why we have done so well,” said Cristiano.
But it wasn’t always easy for Pasco, who will head to Boise State next year.
Things started well in her freshman year as she was joined by four of her teammates in college, where Pasco was one of the first to come off the bench for the team charged with San Ramon.
Pasco, an upside-down shooter since setting foot on the Danville campus, set the school’s freshman scoring record, scoring 367 points for the team that fell in the first round of the CIF tournament. of Northern California.
His sophomore year wasn’t as smooth as Pasco tore an ankle ligament early in the season. She returned as the season progressed, playing 12 games. Averaging 17 points overall, Pasco helped Wolves claim the North Coast Section title before the team fell in the second round of the NorCal playoffs.
His junior season consisted of a shortened spring season due to the COVID pandemic. The team went 11-0, with Pasco averaging 28.9 per game, including three games over 40 points.
That brings us to that season where Wolves rolled. Averaging over 20 game points, Pasco saw limited playing time due to how easily Wolves were winning.
Unlike some teams, San Ramon distributes the wealth in terms of playing time in lopsided wins.
“She doesn’t play much, if at all in the second half of games,” Cristiano said. “She would have a number of 50-point games if we played that way, but that’s not what we do.”
Pasco herself is the one to take the spotlight away from her and focus more on the team. With his leadership, Wolves are focused on one task at a time.
“We had tougher games during pre-season to prepare for EBAL,” Pasco said. “The goal was to win the championship. After that, it would be to win NCS. There is always something to hunt. »
Step 1 – winning the EBAL title is about to be accomplished – at least the regular season crown – as on January 29 Wolves knocked out rival Carondelet 64-60 in a power battle not only in EBAL, but also in the NCS.
After a predominantly blowout season, the closer was actually a welcome relief.
“It was super fun,” said Pasco, who led all scorers with 24 points. “A match like that… it was super competitive and tough. After the game, it was amazing to celebrate.
Of course, to win the impending EBAL and then NCS tournament would mean beating Carondelet two more times.
“It certainly looks like that,” Pasco said.
Regardless of how the season went, Pasco established a legacy that will long be remembered in Danville, as well as in the league.
The next step will be to build his career at Boise State, an easy decision for Pasco.
“Honestly, it took a visit,” Pasco said. “I knew it straight away. It was just fine.
The only adjustment for Pasco will be adapting to college play versus high school.
“She will reach the weight room before Boise,” Cristiano said. “She’s dealing with 17 and 18-year-olds now, but will be competing against women in college. Boise will want her to sprint on the court and find her footing. She’ll be perfect for them.