Toughest choice other than overall was in Division I where a sophomore edged a senior. Other honorees from Bakersfield, Oakland and Chatsworth. Go inside here as well for best among juniors and freshmen.
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Congratulations to these girls players for being selected as a Cal-Hi Sports State Player of the Year. Stay tuned for the release on Monday of the 2013 Mr. Basketball Player of the Year and for all other boys players of the year.
Seniors – Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day)
Also named as the Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year. The other seniors who were finalists were Erica McCall from Ridgeview of Bakersfield and Oderah Chidom from Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland. All three were in this week’s McDonald’s All-American Game.
Juniors – Jordin Canada (Windward, Los Angeles)
The extremely talented junior point guard that recently committed to UCLA was an unbelievably close second to Kelsey Plum for both Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year and Division IV Player of the Year.
For the State Junior of the Year honor, however, she was clearly the choice with fellow Ms. Basketball finalist Mariya Moore of Richmond Salesian, Gabby Green of Berkeley St. Mary’s, Natalie Romeo of Concord Carondelet and University of San Francisco-committed Stockton Brookside Christian star Tiara Tucker well behind her.
Canada’s performance in the Wildcats’ 81-71 victory over Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the CIF Southern Regional Open Division championship was beyond amazing. The 14 assists she had combined with 17 points meant Canada had a hand in 45 points. On the season, she had 546 points (17 ppg), 234 assists (7.3 per game) and 157 rebounds for a 4.9 per game average despite being only 5-foot-7 and not built big.
Sophomores – Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
After being chosen as State Freshman of the Year for last season when she was still at Edison of Huntington Beach, Katie Lou follows it up to lead the sophomores. We can add that the runner-up to her was Bri Moore from St. Mary’s of Stockton. For more on Katie, see Division I writeup from below.
Freshmen – DiJonai Carrington (Horizon, San Diego)
With several talented freshmen making big impacts for their teams this season, it was this 5-foot-11 guard from San Diego who earns this honor as she led the Panthers, a team coached by mother Victoria, to the CIF San Diego Section Division V championship before their season ended in the SoCal Divsion V regional finals with a one-point loss to eventual state champion Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth.
For the season, Carrington averaged 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, seven assists, 5.2 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Scoring at least 30 points in a game five times, her season-high came during a 73-48 win over Marlborough of Los Angeles as she scored 35 points. Like Katie Lou Samuelson, she also has been named by some as the top prospect in the nation for her class.
CIF Division I – Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
After being named our Freshman of the Year last season and as the only sophomore named a finalist for our Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year, her selection for this additional award should come as little surprise after averaging 20.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game for the Monarchs.
Her sister Bonnie plays at Stanford and her sister Karlie will be headed there this season and she could be the third to head to Stanford in a few years. She is considered by some to be the top 2015 recruit in the nation.
Katie Lou led Mater Dei to a 30-2 record and while the team didn’t win either the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA or CIF Open Division titles it did win top honors in the top division at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona. Also strongly considered was Corona Santiago’s Chrishae Rowe, who did lead her team to that CIFSS Division I-AA crown. In the CIF Open Division playoffs, however, Mater Dei and Samuelson topped Santiago 78-69.
CIF Division II – Erica McCall (Ridgeview, Bakersfield)
Named already as the Gatorade State Player of the Year (which includes an academic component), Erica was a finalist for our Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year after a career that saw her break the state career shot-blocking record.
Headed to Stanford next season, she blocked 278 shots this season to finish with 950 in her career. She was also earn a spot in the state record book for career rebounds with 1,883 and career points with 2,526. McCall led the Wolfpack to the CIF Central Section Division II championship before having her career end in the D2 SoCal regional finals.
CIF Division III – Oderah Chidom (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland)
She may be our Division III Player of the Year but Chidom has serious Division I talent as the 6-foot-4 standout will be headed to Duke next season.
Also a finalist for our Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year, she was the top player for an O’Dowd squad that won the first CIF Open Division state crown with averages of 14 points and 12 rebounds per game. She is the second straight D3 player of the year from O’Dowd. Her senior teammate, Kendall “KC” Waters, was the honoree for this division for last season.
Chidom played last summer for the Under-17 U.S. women’s national team that won a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships.
CIF Division IV – Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day)
The Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year, Senior Player of Year, and now the Division IV Player of the Year to add to her McDonald’s All-American mark of distinction, takes it all in stride. “It’s great getting all these honors but it really doesn’t change a thing,” Plum told Cal-Hi Sports when informed of her awards. “I’m going into games with my same competitive edge.”
Despite an 18-12 record this year, the Torreys still piled up a 103-22 record during Plum’s four-year varsity career.
CIF Division V – Kennedy Burke (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth)
The 6-foot-1 sophomore who also was one of a small number of girls right behind State Sophomore of the Year Katie Lou Samuelson in consideration for that honor is clearly the top player for the state’s smallest enrollment division.
When she went for 20 points and 13 rebounds in a 40-38 loss to Berkeley St. Mary’s at the Nike Extravaganza at Santa Ana Mater Dei, she put herself on the statewide radar screen of girls basketball analysts and college coaches in attendance.
In the matchup with State Freshman of the Year DiJonai Carrington in the CIF Southern Regional Division V title game, Burke had game-highs of 28 points and 24 rebounds in a 63-62 win.
At Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento against Pinewood of Los Altos Hills in a 47-33 victory, Burke didn’t shoot that well but still totally controlled the paint and finished with game highs of 14 points, 16 rebounds, five blocked shots, four assists and two steals.
Mark Tennis and Paul Muyskens contributed to this report
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend