The selections for the 2016 Cal-Hi Sports all-state girls basketball teams conclude with a look at the 10 players named as first team all-state overall. Four of the 10 are from the CIF San Diego Section, cementing a thought we had all season about the quality of top players from that section this season. Thanks to all who contributed nominations for this year’s teams. This is the 36th annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state teams for girls basketball.
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2016 CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-STATE
ELITE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS
FIRST TEAM OVERALL
Sierra Campisano (Torrey Pines, San Diego) 6-3, Sr.
We can’t remember so many dominant players in the San Diego area at the same time. For Campisano, her season began with a 46-point night vs. Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley and kept right on rolling. To say the Oregon-bound ESPN No. 5 ranked senior forward and No. 14 player overall was pretty much a one girl team for the 22-9 Falcons was pretty accurate for a girl who overcame adversity off the court due to a serious illness when she was a freshman to finish her high school basketball career as one of the state’s statistical leaders in points, rebounds and blocked shots. Plus, she has a 4.1 GPA. This past season, Campisano had per game averages of 30.0 points, 15.9 rebounds and 5.7 blocks. Her career total of 2,649 points also will get her a spot pretty high up on that list in the Cal-Hi Sports records.
Dijonai Carrington (Horizon Christian, San Diego) 6-0, Sr.
Carrington is a perfect example of a phenomenal talent who is being selected to the first team despite missing a significant portion of the season. Even though she was slowed by injuries, the McDonald’s All-American was still one of the most exciting players on the court. Before injuries literally sliced and diced her high school career, Carrington was the State Freshman of the Year. She missed all but six games her sophomore season and in 2015 she just missed being a finalist for Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year. Last summer, she re-injured her knee but continued to play on it. It was questionable if Carrington would play this season but no one has more grit and determination to be on the court. The Stanford-bound ESPN No. 7 rated guard and No. 34 player overall came back to the disbelief of many, and despite her minutes being limited and getting held out of some games, and being triple-teamed by almost every team that played Horizon, she finished with per game averages of 18.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 blocks per game in the 20 games she played. Even missing so many games, Carrington still finished her career with 2,061 points (22.2 ppg), 1,467 rebounds (15.8 rpg), 456 assists (4.9 per game) and 354 steals (3.8 per game).
Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 6-2, So.
By the time all is said and done, DeCosta may be spoken of in the same esteem as other St. Mary’s greats and past Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year winners like Dominique Banks, Jacki Gemelos and Chelsea Gray. One of the few sophomore finalists for Ms. Basketball, the previous State Freshman of the Year and current State Sophomore of the Year was clearly the best player on a team that was No. 1 in the nation for most of the season, and still finished very high nationally in every ranking and No. 2 in the final Cal-Hi Sports state rankings. She also was outstanding at the Nike Tournament of Champions. In the semifinals vs. Archbishop Mitty, she had 27 points, five rebounds and eight steals. And in the final vs. Riverdale Baptist of Maryland (in that team’s only loss it suffered) she had 22 points, 19 rebounds and three steals. DeCosta also had 24 points vs. Oakland Bishop O’Dowd and 26 points when the Rams were upset by Pinewood. She averaged 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game and has been ranked as the ESPN No. 1 player in the nation among sophomores.
Sabrina Ionescu (Miramonte, Orinda) 5-11, Sr.
There isn’t much more that can be said about a Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year winner this season that also won just about every award possible other than Gatorade National Player of the Year, although Cal-Hi Sports recommended her for that honor as well as the Gatorade State Player of the Year which she captured. Other awards this season for the previous State Sophomore and State Junior of the Year include selection to the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand national all star games, San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Metro Player of the Year for the second straight season, and the American Family Insurance All-USA Player of the Year. Despite losing to Chaminade in the CIF Open title game, Ionescu registered the only known triple-double in a state championship game in the 35 years the CIF has had girls’ championships after scoring 24 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. On top of that, she was the MVP of the McDonald’s game after registering a double-double 25 points and 10 rebounds. In a 32-1 season this year, the ESPN No. 1 rated senior guard and No. 4 player overall averaged 25.9 points, 8.8 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game while also making 102 3-pointers and shooting 49percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 89 percent from the foul line.
Valerie Higgins (Chaminade, West Hills) 6-1, Sr.
The first runner up to Sabrina Ionescu for Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year in the polling of coaches with over 25 combined CIF state titles, Higgins joined her Cal Stars Nike Elite teammate from last year at the Jordan Brand all star game in New York. Prior to that, the USC-bound Higgins had an outstanding season and was instrumental in the 80-71 CIF Open Division title-game victory over Miramonte and Ionescu. In the game, she had 16 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Higgins had 24 points and five assists when Chaminade beat Long Beach Poly in the CIF Southern Section Open Division final. She didn’t get the top honor for girls but Higgins was named the Division I State Player of the Year after a season the saw the ESPN No. 2 rated senior wing and No. 16 player overall finish the season with averages of 20.4 points, and a team-high 10.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.
Destiny Littleton (Bishop’s, La Jolla) 5-9, Jr.
There is no guarantee that it will happen, but if the State Freshman of the Year, State Sophomore of the Year and this season’s State Junior of the Year stays healthy, she will almost assuredly break the Cal-Hi Sports all-time scoring record of 3,837 set in 2004 by another player from the CIF San Diego Section, Charde Houston of San Diego High. This past season, Littleton ended the season with 1,178 points (35.7 ppg) after 28 points in the Knights’ 57-52 loss to Oaks Christian of Westlake Village in the CIF SoCal Division I playoffs. That gives her 2,934 points already in her career, meaning she will start next season only 903 short of Houston, and if she scores at her career average of 30.2 points per game, the Knights will need to play 30 games next season after going 25-8 this year. The ESPN No. 1 rated junior guard and No. 13 player overall also beat out fellow first team members Khayla Rooks, Sierra Campisano and Dijonai Carrington as the CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year.
Minyon Moore (Salesian, Richmond) 5-9, Sr.
The little sister of 2014 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year runner up and current Louisville sophomore star Mariya Moore, Minyon has followed in her sister’s footsteps by not only having a reputation as being as tough as big sis, but also by being named a Ms. Basketball finalist and now a First Team Elite selection. The biggest moments for the USC-bound Moore came in the biggest games against top opponents. Her 40 points, nine steals, five assists and four rebounds in an upset of a nationally ranked Archbishop Mitty in the CIF NorCal Open Division playoffs was the capper. Her team lost to nationally ranked Lynnwood of Washington in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree but it was Moore that stole individual honors with a double-double 35 points and 10 steals with six assists. In an overtime loss to a then national No. 1 St. Mary’s of Stockton, she had 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Had she not had her minutes limited in some blowouts, Moore likely would have been higher than 21 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 5.2 steals per game but those are still stellar numbers. What’s ironic is USC is not really looking at her as a scorer, but she can sure take over a game.
Leaonna Odom (Chaminade, West Hills) 6-1, Sr.
The No. 3 vote-getter in the CIF state championship coaches’ poll for Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year would be the hands down winner if the award had been decided on just the last two games of the season. Instead, and even without those final contests, Odom was a lock for First Team Elite despite missing nine games due to injuries. In the CIF Southern Regional Open Division title game, she changed up the designed play and instead stepped back and took an off balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that stunned Long Beach Poly and gave Chaminade 50-49 victory that sent them to Sacramento. Odom topped that performance in the 80-71 victory over Miramonte in the Open state title game with one of the biggest single performances in state championship history when she poured in 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds with four assists. The Duke-bound McDonald’s All-American and ESPN No. 1 rated senior wing and No. 9 player overall led Chaminade with 21.5 points a game and was second in rebounds with 9.9 per game.
Reili Richardson (Brea Olinda, Brea) 5-10, Sr.
The Orange County Register Girls Player of the Year was also a finalist for Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year after getting her team to the state title game two-straight years and this year leading the Ladycats to a CIF Division I state championship victory over St. Francis of Sacramento. In the title-game win, the team’s lone senior had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists. In leading Brea Olinda to a 29-4 season, she was also part of the school’s record 10th state championship. During that state championship run, the Arizona State-bound Richardson scored 32, 21, 27 and 26 points and shot a combined 55 free throws. Unlike many previous seasons, Richardson is the lone representative on the All-State First Team Elite from Orange County this year.
Khayla Rooks (Mission Hills, San Marcos)
One of the state’s top juniors based on multiple recruiting sources and the runner-up for CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year, Rooks certainly has the lineage to be a basketball standout. Her father, Sean Rooks, was a standout at Arizona before spending 12 years in the NBA. Her older brother is Cal 7-foot center Kameron Rooks. The bottom line is lineage if fine but Rooks has carved out her own spot after leading the Grizzlies to the CIFSDS Open Division title game victory over La Jolla Country Day and then a win over Windward in the SoCal Open Division playoffs before they bowed out in a loss to Chaminade. Against Country Day, she had 18 points and 13 rebounds, 21 points and 11 rebounds in the 49-45 victory against Windward, and against the triple team of Open champ Chaminade, Rooks only could muster eight points but she grabbed 15 rebounds in the 79-59 defeat. For the season she averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds a game.
Cal-Hi Sports editor Mark Tennis 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