By DANIEL ARCHULETA

Managing Editor

ST. MONICA The Mariners appear to be peaking at the right time.

As St. Monica’s girls basketball team prepares to open the Camino Real League season today against Mary Star of the Sea at home, the Mariners find themselves on a six-game winning streak that has Head Coach Therese Charkut pondering a league title run.

“We made some changes in the way everyone practices,” she said. “The kids have made a commitment.”

Charkut said that her team’s reinvestment in hard work has turned around a season that began 4-7, giving her hope that the Mariners (10-7 overall) could potentially enjoy a long run into the postseason.

But for now, she’s just worried about Mary Star.

“I feel like we’re more talented,” Charkut said, “but they play hard and come ready for us every year.”

The Mariners won both matchups last season.

While the team has shown improvement during the current streak, it is the play of senior guard Kaitlin Wilcox that has been pacing the offense, Charkut said.

“It doesn’t hurt that Wilcox hit eight three-pointers against CAMS (California Academy of Math & Science) and then nine against Marlborough,” Charkut said. The nine threes against Marlborough is a school record.

Charkut said that Wilcox and her long-distance shooting touch helps the offense get going during scoring droughts.

“If we can spot her up, she hits them all day,” she said of her sharpshooter.

Along with Wilcox, Charkut pointed to the play of junior forward Monique Boe and junior guard/forward Cory Laguardia as clear signs that her team may have the firepower to challenge for a league title.

“I like that we’re getting in people’s faces on defense,” Charkut said. “Overall, things are going well for us.”

Local b-ball teams ranked<p>

Santa Monica’s girls basketball team is ranked third in the most recent California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section’s Division I-A rankings. Across town, St. Monica’s squad is ranked seventh in Division 5-AA.

On the boys side, Samohi is ranked 10th in the Division 1-A poll. St. Monica’s boys are ranked 12th in Division 4-A. Crossroads is 10th in the Division 5-AA rankings. Pacifica Christian is ranked 11th in Division 6-AA.