By Cortez Cruz Serrato
In their first season playing together, sisters Guadalupe and Kimberly Perez helped lead the East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team to an unprecedented season.
The Perez sisters played a pivotal role in helping ELAC make the California Community College women’s basketball state championships final four, the first in school history.
Guadalupe, 23, and Kimberly, 19, came into the season as sophomores. Kimberly played last year as a freshman while Guadalupe came back to the team after sitting out the past three seasons.
“I played for the team my first year at ELAC l but I decided stop playing to focus on work and going to school. After seeing how much fun my sister was having last year, I decided to use my last year of eligibility and play this season with her,” Guadalupe said.
This season was the first time the Perez sisters played a full season together, only previously playing one game together during California Interscholastic Federation playoff game while at East Los Angeles’ Garfield High School during Guadalupe’s senior year and Kimberly’s freshman year in 2010.
“We never really played together in anything before this season, her being a couple of years older made it hard for us to be on the same team,” Kimberly said.
Having two sisters on the team was an adjustment for the Perez sisters and their teammates, but it brought both sisters closer than ever before.
“Most of the girls on the team thought we were twins at first which was funny for us, Coach (Turner) had to start separating us from each other after a while during drills because we would always be talking or laughing with one another,” Guadalupe said.
Early on the Perez sisters, along with the rest of the team, grew more and more confident that this years team was special and poised to have a solid season.
“We kind of knew we were a good team coming out of the summer. Of course we didn’t know that we would make it that far in playoffs but our chemistry was solid and we had good talent,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly started for the Huskies this season while Guadalupe contributed key minutes for the team coming off the bench.
The Perez sisters have played sports all their lives and began to fall in love with it after seeing their older brother Carlos playing and excel in youth leagues growing up in East LA.
“We played everything growing up. Baseball, soccer, football, you name it,” Guadalupe said, “but when i was in middle school I saw all my friends sign up for basketball so I signed up to and focused on it all during high school,”
Kimberly followed in Guadalupe’s footsteps, also focusing on basketball. Both attended Garfield High School where they both played varsity basketball for three years, Guadalupe from 2008 to 2010 and Kimberly from 2011-2013.
The Perez sisters are two of six children of Carlos Perez Sr. and Lupe Marizo, who they say have been supportive of their athletics from a very young age. Both were in attendance for every game as the Huskies made their improbable run to the final four.
“It was a blessing for me to see both of my daughters achieve such greatness,” Carlos Perez Sr. said. “They have always wanted to get somewhere big and we think that reaching the final four was a good experience for them. It was a great accomplishment,”
“It brought us closer as a family because we all attended everyone of their games together and we were always looking forward to the next game,” Marizo said.
With both sisters finishing their basketball careers this season, they now have the goal of transferring and potentially playing basketball at a four-year university in mind.
Guadalupe and Kimberly were offered basketball scholarships to Bethesda Christian University in Anaheim but are still unsure if they will accept the offer.
“We don’t know if we’re going to take it yet because the school doesn’t offer our major but on the other hand it will be nice to play with each other again,” Kimberly said.
When asked, both parents said that they would love to see their daughters play another season with each other at a university. The choice is up to them and they are happy with whatever decisions they make.
Both are finishing up their associate degrees in sociology, with Guadalupe on track to graduate by spring and Kimberly to be finished with her requirements by summer.