In addition to the first 10 players overall that are written up and showcased, the Cal-Hi Sports all-state girls basketball selections also features two more sets of 10 regarded as our best of the best. Schools getting multiple picks among the top 30 include St. Mary’s of Stockton, Chaminade of West Hills, Long Beach Poly and Windward of Los Angeles.
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For this year’s all-state teams according to school size, CLICK HERE.
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For this year’s final Gold Club list of all-state girls basketball nominees, CLICK HERE.
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2016 CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-STATE
ELITE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS
SECOND TEAM OVERALL
Mi’Cole Cayton (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 5-7, Sr.
At one point in early March when St. Mary’s was rolling along as the No. 1 team in the nation, the flashy guard was one of the eight girls and three from the Rams featured in a Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year update. Her stock slipped a little, but the Nebraska-bound ESPN No. 20 rated senior guard and No. 80 player overall was still one of the best all-around guards in the state, and particularly as a defender and a floor leader, on a team loaded with good guards.
Ayanna Clark (Long Beach Poly)
The USC-committed post, who returned to Poly where she played her freshman season on the 2014 CIF Open Division state champions, is arguably the top big girl in the state since she primarily does her best work on both offense and defense in the paint. Clark missed some time early on due to a concussion but with her in the lineup the Jackrabbits only losses were at the Nike TOC and twice to Chaminade after an early season victory over the CIF Open Division state champions. Her double-double 22 points and 14 rebounds with four blocks in a 55-45 win in the title game of the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree earned her MVP honors. Clark also had a double-double 13 points and 17 rebounds in the Southern Regional Open title game 50-49 last-second loss to Chaminade. The ESPN No. 2 junior post and No. 8 player overall averaged 13.4 points and 9.9 rebounds a game and despite being edged out as the Long Beach Press Telegram Player of the Year by teammate Jasmine Jones she joins Jones on our second team. We’re just glad we don’t have to pick between the two.
Mai-Loni Henson (La Jolla Country Day, San Diego) 6-0, Sr.
It would not have been a stretch to have had Henson as the fifth San Diego Section girl on the top 10. Still, she’s been without question an elite all-state player for more than just this season. An All-State selection in some way shape or form all four years she was a Torrey, Henson finishes her career with second team elite honors after the Washington-bound ESPN No. 18-ranked senior wing led Country Day to a 24-6 season that culminated in a 46-39 loss to Long Beach Poly in the Southern Regional Open Division Playoffs. In a bit of a twist, this year’s record with Henson as the top player once again was better than last season when the team won the CIF Division V state championship with an 18-11 record. Henson was second on the team in scoring and rebounding to Alaysia Styles but was the more complete player after averaging 14.8 points, 8.9 rebounds 6.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game. In her final game, she had 17 points and 13 rebounds against Poly.
Maddie Holland (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 5-10, Jr.
The San Jose Mercury News Player of the Year and ESPN No. 40 ranked junior guard in the nation was the best player on a team that finished in some national rankings and finished No. 5 in the Cal-Hi Sports final expanded rankings. Holland will return to lead a team that only graduates one senior after leading the team in almost every statistical category this season when she averaged 10.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.8 steals a game.
Jasmine Jones (Long Beach Poly) 6-1, Jr.
The Long Beach Press Telegram Player of the Year was considered by the newspaper as the best all-around player in its area and it’s hard to argue. Like several other honorees, she had to sit out after transferring from West of Torrance and only appeared in 21 games, meaning she missed the major tournaments like the Nike TOC and the West Coast Jamboree. However, the ESPN No. 14 ranked junior forward still came through big time for the Jackrabbits. For the season, she averaged 13.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 1.8 assists per game.
Aarion McDonald (Brookside Christian, Stockton) 5-7, Sr.
The Washington-bound ESPN No. 14 ranked senior guard and No. 54 player overall took her lumps this season as the Knights’ schedule was filled with larger schools and state-ranked teams in the various tournament showcases. McDonald still led the team to a 23-9 record and 12-0 in league while averaging 22.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 6.1 steals per game. Her best efforts were 38 points, seven rebounds and 10 steals in a win over CIF Division III state champion Sacred Heart Cathedral, 42 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to Salesian, and 31 points 10 rebounds and seven assists in a big win over Pinewood. Miramonte contained her in two outings, including the NorCal Open first round, and Long Beach Poly triple-teamed her in a loss at the West Coast Jamboree. McDonald also had 24 points and 10 rebounds with seven assists and four steals in a loss to Archbishop Mitty.
Amber Melgoza (Santa Barbara) 5-10, Sr.
The Washington-bound guard helped put Santa Barbara on the girls basketball map after leading a team that only won 20 games once in the five years before her to a 106-27 record in her four years playing varsity, including a 30-6 season her sophomore season when Santa Barbara was the 2014 Southern Regional Division III champion. This past season she averaged 26.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.4 assists per game for a 27-5 team that made it to the SoCal D1 quarterfinals. Her 2,774 career points will get Melgoza a very nice spot on the Cal-Hi Sports all-time list for that category.
Myah Pace (Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland) 6-0, Jr.
Despite being a junior, it was this transplant who came west from Indiana three years ago who was the heart and soul of a Dragons’ team that finished 24-7 with a season-ending 50-45 loss to Pinewood in the NorCal Open Division playoffs. The ESPN No. 11 rated junior wing that did a little of bit of everything for a team without a post or a real flashy point guard has some serious looks from a ton of major colleges. Last season, she averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals per game. One of her average solid performances was when she had 18 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists in a 47-40 win over Oaks Christian at the West Coast Jamboree.
Brittney Reed (Vista Murrieta, Murrieta) 5-10, Sr.
The Loyola-Marymount-bound runner-up to Cajon’s Kayla Washington for Riverside Press Enterprise Inland Empire Player of the Year had to carry the load mostly herself for most of the season with highly touted Cal-bound Jaelyn Brown missing all but the last eight games of a 30-5 finish. Reed finished with per game averages of 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. She played a huge role in a 62-49 SoCal D1 semifinal win over an Oaks Christian team that previously had beaten Inland Empire rival Cajon by 21 points in the CIFSS Open playoffs.
Kayla Washington (Cajon, San Bernardino) 6-0, Sr.
There was a lot of consideration for making the two-time Press Enterprise All Inland Empire Player of the Year a First Team Elite selection after she led Cajon to its first ever state championship when she had 17 points and 15 rebounds in the 55-36 victory over Elk Grove in the CIF Division II state title game. The Washington State-commit and ESPN No. 18 ranked senior wing was clearly the top player on a Cowgirls’ team deep in talent. On the season, she averaged 22.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.3 steal and 2.8 assists per game.
2016 CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-STATE
ELITE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS
THIRD TEAM OVERALL
Nina Bessolo (Castro Valley) 6-2, Sr.
There were a lot of one girl teams in the state this season, mostly public schools, but with all due respect to the other players, the Trojans led by Bessolo are probably the best example. Prior to her becoming eligible for 25 games, Castro Valley was a decent team, but after she sat out the mandatory period and 11 games, the only teams Castro Valley lost to were Bishop O’Dowd, when she had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and in the NorCal Division I title game to St. Francis, when she had 20 points and 12 rebounds. In the greatest season in school history and a first-ever CIFNCS championship, the UC Davis-bound Bessolo averaged 17.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.
Katie Campbell (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) 5-10, Sr.
Another girl who took her lumps on a team that played one of the toughest schedules in the state was this Washington State-committed guard who was the Ventura County Player of the Year. Based on criteria, Oaks Christian only drew the No. 16 seed in the Southern Regional Division I playoffs but Campbell proceeded to go 4-of-6 on 3-pointers and score 16 points while defending State Junior of the Year Destiny Littleton and the Lions pulled off an upset win over Bishop’s of La Jolla. Some other notable games were 23 points, nine rebounds and six steals in a 21-point win over CIF D2 champion Cajon, 27 points against nationally-ranked Lynnwood of Washington, and 21 points against CIF Open champion Chaminade. Her season averages were 16.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.2 assists per game.
Charisma Osborne (Windward, Los Angeles) 5-6, Fr.
It’s a rarity but not the first time ever that the State Freshman of the Year makes it onto one of our first three super elite all-state teams. Osborne was, in fact, the go-to scorer on a very young team that lost its post player early in the season. She did so well that it made some analysts began to make comparisons of Osborne and Jordin Canada, the 2014 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year and Windward guard now starring at UCLA. Her per game averages were 15.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 steals. The effort that really stood out was her double-double 33 points and 10 rebounds with six 3-pointers in a 74-72 win over Vista Murrieta in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs.
Ally Rosenblum (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-4, Sr.
It’s unfair to blame the UCLA-bound highly-regarded post for the fact Mater Dei didn’t go all the way like everyone expects it to each year. This year’s Monarchs’ team was very young and as the only senior major contributor a lot of the scoring punch fell on a player not projected to be the main go-to scorer at the next level. All she did was lead the team to a 27-6 overall record and 8-0 in the always tough Trinity League while averaging 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Barbara Sitanggan (Troy, Fullerton) 5-6, Sr.
The Pepperdine-bound guard was not tops statistically on Troy’s team in scoring but the floor general led the Warriors in assists and steals, was third in rebounds, and her all-around play made her the top player on a very talented Warriors’ team that made it all the way to the Southern Regional Division I semifinals before bowing out in a 52-45 loss to Brea Olinda. She was defended well in that game but in the previous game, a 72-54 win over Santa Barbara, Sitanggan had 19 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals. She averaged 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game for the 26-7 Warriors. She also was a standout for all four of her years playing for the Troy varsity.
Alaysia Styles (La Jolla Country Day) 6-2, Jr.
The long and sleek Styles can handle the ball like a guard and shoot the 3-pointer. She led the Torreys in scoring and rebounding at 17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, respectively. The ESPN No. 10 rated junior wing was defended well by Mission Hills and Long Beach Poly in the final two games of the season but prior to that Styles had scored 25 or more points and double digit rebounds in six of the previous seven games. At one point, it was rumored Connecticut was interested in Styles and the way she played it’s hard to believe the interest has waned.
IImar’I Thomas (Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco) 6-1, Jr.
The Prep2Prep CIF Central Coast Section Player of the Year got better as the year went on and she finished strong after leading the Irish to a 21-9 record and a runner-up finish to Archbishop Mitty in the West Catholic Athletic League. A loss to Pinewood in the CIFCCS Open Division playoffs knocked the Irish out of the NorCal Open field so they went back to Division III where Thomas led them to the school’s fifth state championship after she had 30 points and 15 rebounds with three blocks in a 50-47 title-game victory over Lakeside of Lake Elsinore. On the season, she averaged 23.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Kat Tudor (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 6-0, Sr.
The long-range shooter complimented her game by developing more skills than just shooting. Early in the season, she was on the list of girls being considered for First Team Elite, but when St. Mary’s got knocked out of the catbird seat it meant she had to drop down a bit. Regardless, Kat still had a very distinguished career as a Ram. With St. Mary’s possessing so many weapons, her 3-point attempts were diminished this season. Still, the Oregon State-commit and ESPN No. 15 ranked senior guard was 66-for-165 (40 percent) on 3-pointers and finishes her career with 365 3-pointers, a number that will get her a place on the Cal-Hi Sports career records list.
C.J. West (Garces, Bakersfield) 6-3, Sr.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we really like kids that have had to overcome injuries, those that had a great four-year career and those that have strong local honors. West has been the Bakersfield Californian’s Player of the Year for three straight seasons. She missed the first 12 games of the season for the Rams while she was coming back from shoulder surgery. She ended up averaging 20.5 points and 16 rebounds per game. West actually suffered that shoulder injury as a sophomore and later that summer played through the pain to earn a top 24 finish as the USA 17-under National Team tryouts. She didn’t get the surgery until after her 2015 summer season, but still had more than 50 Division 1 college offers. West will play next at Cal.
Jayde Woods (Windward, Los Angeles) 6-1, Sr.
The second half of the 1-2 punch at Windward had to play out of position at point guard for the first time ever due to injuries and the emergence of Charisma Osborne but the Oregon-commit and ESPN No. 23 senior guard took it in stride and her leadership was instrumental in a 20-7 season that saw the Wildcats beat Sierra Canyon, Gardena Serra and Vista Murrieta before losing to Long Beach Poly in the CIFSS Open Division semifinals and a close 49-45 loss at Mission Hills in the SoCal Open playoffs. On the season, Woods averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game.
Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis also contributed to these writeups and selections.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend