Ontiveros propels Spartans

Girl is leading a ball.
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© Michael Coons/Acorn Newspapers
Ashley Ontiveros is a standout senior combo guard for the Rio Mesa High girls’ basketball team. She leads RMHS in scoring. © Michael Coons/Acorn Newspapers
Ashley Ontiveros was the new kid on the Rio Mesa High campus last year.

A former Newbury Park girls’ basketball standout, Ontiveros needed to adjust to the Spartan life.

“I was scared going to a new school and environment,” said Ontiveros, a standout point guard for Rio Mesa. “My teammates showed me around and took me under their wing. They got me through my junior year.”

Ontiveros settled in, and now she’s enjoying her senior year.

She’s gone from the shy new girl on the squad to the team captain who encourages her teammates.

“I wanted to step up and be a leader this season,” Ontiveros said. “I feel like I fit in. I forget that I transferred.”

Ontiveros helped the Spartans reach the CIF-Section championship for the first time in school history last year. She was named to the All-CIF second team and All-Pacific View League first team.

This year, the Spartan averaged 13 points, 1.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game through her first 23 outings.

Ontiveros is putting up solid numbers, but Rio Mesa (11-12 overall) has struggled on the court.

The Spartans were tied for third place in league with Channel Islands. The two teams met Thursday at Channel Islands with identical 5-3 league marks. Results of the game were not available before press time.

Rio Mesa, defending league champ, is ranked seventh in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AAA coaches’ poll.

“We have a new coach this year, and it took us awhile to learn his system,” Ontiveros said. “Our confidence isn’t as high as it should be. Many of us got down because of the early losses in league. We’ll pick it up during the final games.”

Al Walker, Rio Mesa’s first-year head coach, said he’s impressed with Ontiveros’ 3-point range.

Ontiveros drilled five trifectas and scored 21 points in the victory against Hueneme on Tuesday.

“She’s a great shooter,” said Walker, who coached the Spartans from 1989-98 and returned for a one-year stint in 2000-01. “Ashley gets hot quickly. She scores in bunches.”

Ontiveros shares point guard duties with senior Ashley Rodriguez.

The Spartans are at their best when Ontiveros slides over to shooting guard and Rodriguez distributes the ball.

Rodriguez helped Ontiveros feel welcome at Rio Mesa.

The two guards played together on the Oxnard Heat and the VC Elite travel squads.

“I’ve known Ashley for about six years, but we just said hi and bye,” Rodriguez said. “When she joined the (Rio Mesa) team, we became very close. She’s a good friend and teammate. She always pushes me to get better. . . . She never goes easy on me.”

Ontiveros was a standout varsity player for the Newbury Park girls’ basketball team as a freshman and sophomore.

She averaged 11 points per game in the 2010-11 season for the Panthers.

Newbury Park is having an outstanding season so far with a 19-4 overall record and an 11-0 Marmonte League record.

“I’m proud of them,” Ontiveros said about her former team. “To see them step up and do well is exciting. I’m happy for them.”

If basketball didn’t interfere with soccer during the winter season, Ontiveros would also star on the pitch for Rio Mesa.

“I love soccer, but I’m better at basketball,” Ontiveros said. “I want to continue to get better and end my senior year on a good note. I’m hoping to play college basketball.”

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