Viera girls getting better under new coach


Senior forward Kaitlyn Jensen is playing basketball for the first time since the eighth grade and is having a big impact on the Hawks' season.

Carl Kotala

It’s funny how a season can suddenly turn around.

The Viera High girls basketball team lost seven of its first eight games to start the season then had a meeting where the Hawks decided to re-focus on their goals for the season.

Since then, Viera is 4-0 with wins over Hagerty, Space Coast, Merritt Island and Liberty giving the Hawks plenty of momentum to build on until their next game on Jan. 6 against Celebration.

Senior forward Kaitlyn Jensen has proven to be a big addition for the Hawks after deciding to come out for basketball.

“It’s been good,” said Jensen, a volleyball, track and softball standout.

“I feel like I’ve gotten better every game. I’m a little rusty because I haven’t played since seventh and eighth grade. I’m glad I came out this year.”

Jensen joins a Viera roster that has plenty of promise led by sophomore Tyrese Gonzales and a host of others including Samantha Parish, Corrine Flojole, Jaeda Stewart, Amanda Fentress, Marchella Bodi, Caitlyn Hoffine, Sarah Smith, Vanessa Collard and Ali Shoff.

But perhaps the biggest change for the Hawks has been the arrival of Ray Kimball, a 30-year coaching veteran from Michigan.

Kimball has brought a new energy to Viera and he also has a plan to help build the Hawks into perennial contenders.

“We’ve got to get our youth program started,” Kimball said. “We’ve got to get young kids playing. We’ve got to improve the fundamentals of our kids and our area. We just need to get a bunch of kids playing basketball.”

There are still things the Hawks need to work on as the season goes on – decision making being chief among them – but this year’s Viera team appears to be one that will only keep getting better as the season goes on.

The Hawks’ last four games are proof of that.

“I didn’t have an opportunity to work with these kids in the summer,” Kimball said. “I came in in August and we’ve got a little transition going. I’m trying to figure them out. They’re trying to figure me out.

“We’re going to be better at the end than we were at the beginning. There’s no doubt about it. I’m very confident about that.”