Girls basketball: It's your turn to vote for Player of the Year (again)

Girls basketball: It's your turn to vote for Player of the Year (again)

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Update: Our original polling data was unintentionally reset on Friday, March 20. This created a disadvantage for any polling options that already had a large number of votes as those votes could not be recast. We have decided to reset the poll on a new web-page to allow anyone who voted previously to recast their votes. The poll will close Wednesday, March 25 at 5 p.m. If there are any questions or concerns, email Joe Bailey at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com

The high school basketball season is done.

The sectional playoffs have long run their course and the state playoffs ended abruptly after the CIF State Office canceled all the girls and boys basketball finals due to the coronavirus outbreak.

With an abundance of gloomy news, now is a particularly appropriate time to look back on all the star performers that called the Central Coast home during the 2019-20 season while also giving readers a chance to divert some of their attention towards picking out one player above the rest. 

These are the candidates for the Central Coast Player of the Year honor. (Voting can be completed online).

The Santa Maria Valley in particular saw a handful of dynamic performances from various players, two of which led their respective teams to league championships. 

That's where we'll start.

Who gets your vote for the Player of the Year in girls basketball?

You voted:

Orcutt Academy sophomore Giselle Calderon exploded on the scene with her aggressive showing in 2020.

The point guard led the Spartans to a historic season, where they won their first league title in girls basketball with a perfect 10-0 league record. The Spartans also set a school record for wins in a season with 24. Orcutt Academy advanced to the CIF Central Section Division 4 semifinals, where it fell to eventual champion Caruthers. 

Calderon averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game for the Spartans. But the sophomore really powered her team on the defensive end, leading the team with 3.5 steals per game. Orcutt Academy consistently deployed an aggressive full-court defense and Calderon was a linchpin in that effort. 

Luckily for coach Tom Robb, he should have Calderon for the next two seasons.

While Calderon was leading the Spartans to an Ocean League title, Righetti junior Malia Cabigon led the Warriors to a Mountain League crown and a CIF Central Section semifinal appearance.

Cabigon excelled in the area's toughest league, playing with a solid cast of girls. Even though Righetti had an array of options on offense, Cabigon consistently stepped up to score big buckets for the Warriors. She averaged 12.8 points per game while also grabbing 7.6 boards. 

Though Cabigon is typically one of the tallest players on the floor, she's continued to grow her game and extend her range on the court. The 6-foot forward has transformed into a player who can stretch the floor and shot from 3 and also handle the ball. Big things will be expected of her in 2021.

Cabigon had a big hand in helping the Warriors capture their first-ever CIF State playoff win with a 21-point showing against Mount Miguel. The Warriors also made the CIF Central Section Division 1 semifinals, where they lost to the team they edged out for the Mountain League title, Arroyo Grande.

The Warriors finished 24-5 and went 11-1 in league. 

While those two captured league titles in the SMV, Santa Maria's Carlissa Solorio was piling up big numbers for a Santa Maria squad that didn't see as much team success. Solorio averaged 16 points per game and 11.9 rebounds with 13 double-doubles in 21 games last season. Solorio also has another year of eligibility and should be a key player a senior in 2021.

The Saints finished 7-15 and 1-9 in Ocean League play last year.  

Staying in the Santa Maria Valley, Pioneer Valley senior Ravynn Anielski, the 2019 All-Area MVP, capped a stellar career by averaging 13.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Anielski continued to perform at a high level even as the Panthers moved up from the Ocean League to the tougher Mountain League this season. The Panthers went 13-15 overall and 4-8 in league. 

Anielski also contributed 1.7 assists and 3.2 steals per game for the Panthers.

Next up is Arroyo Grande's Kathleen Hutchens, who helped the Eagles hand the Warriors their only Mountain League loss and had a 29-point game in the Eagles' semifinal win over Righetti in the CIF Central Section Division 1 playoffs. Hutchens averaged 16 points a game for the Eagles, who finished 20-10 on the season.

Moving to the Lompoc Valley, there are a pair of standouts who led their teams against tough Channel League competition in Cabrillo senior Morgan McIntyre and Lompoc senior Kayla Taylor. 

McIntyre wrapped up her decorated career at Cabrillo by averaging 11.4 points per game with 6.1 rebounds. The Conqs went 14-12 overall and 6-4 in the Channel League. McIntyre added 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game.

Lompoc's Taylor provided crucial scoring for the young Braves, leading the team with 12.9 points per game and 7.8 rebounds. She also contributed on the defensive end with 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks per game.

Also in the Channel League is Santa Ynez junior Grace Padilla, who put up perhaps the most absurd stat line this season. The post player averaged 13.8 points and 15.2 rebounds per game for the Pirates. Padilla was simply a monster on the glass. But she was also a major presence on defense, averaging 4.7 steals and nearly a block a game for the Pirates.

The Stats

Giselle Calderon, Orcutt Academy, So., PG: 14.0 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.1 steals, 1.0 blocks. 

Malia Cabigon, Righetti, Jr., PF: 12.8 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks. 

Carlissa Solorio, Santa Maria, Jr., C: 16 points per game, 11.9 rebounds, (13 double-doubles in 21 games). 

Ravynn Anielski, Pioneer Valley, Sr., G: 13.4 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 3.2 steals, 0.4 blocks. 

Morgan McIntyre, Cabrillo, Sr., PF: 11.4 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.1 blocks. 

Kayla Taylor, Lompoc, Sr., C: 12.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.7 blocks. 

Grace Padilla, Santa Ynez, Jr. C: 13.8 points per game. 15.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 4.7 steals, 0.7 blocks.

Kathleen Hutchens, Arroyo Grande, Jr., G: 16.0 points per game. 

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Pioneer Valley seniors Lauren Carandang and Christian Morin are the 2020 NSBCART Female Athlete of the Year and Joni Gray Heart and Soul Award winners respectively.

Lompoc seniors Ryan Morgan and Amy Bommersbach are the Male Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship winners respectively. Righetti senior Kai Karamitsos earned the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship.

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