Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year Juju Watkins plus State Junior of the Year Kennedy Smith, State Sophomore of the Year Alijahna “Puff” Morris and newly named NorCal Player of the Year McKenna Woliczko headline the 43rd annual Cal-Hi Sports all-state girls basketball teams. Go inside to see why these 10 have finished their careers as First Team Overall honorees out of the thousands who played during 2022-23 season.
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2022 CAL-HI SPORTS ALL-STATE
ELITE GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAMS
FIRST TEAM OVERALL
G – Makiah Asidanya (Salesian, Richmond) 5-7, Sr.
After making Third Team Elite as a junior when Salesian won the CIF Division I state championship, the top player of this year’s CIF Northern Regional Open Division runner-up and final expanded No. 6 ranked Pride gets a spot on the First Team Elite for this past season. Salesian had six girls who averaged over six points a game but only one was in double-figures, and that was the North Carolina-Greensboro-bound Asidanya at 14.2 points per game. She was also the team’s third-leading rebounder from the guard spot at 5.3 boards per contest. She was the only Salesian player in double-figure scoring with 11 in a grind-it-out upset over top-seeded Piedmont in the NorCal Open quarterfinals. On the road in the opener at Folsom as the No. 5 seed in the five-team NorCal Open field, Asidanya took the game in her hands in a 76-70 double overtime victory. She got to the free-throw line enough times to make 15 and finished with a huge-double-double 27 points and 14 rebounds with two assists and two steals. In a 64-62 victory over state-ranked Acalanes (Lafayette) in the title game of the Diamond Division of the West Coast Jamboree, Makiah hit the game winner and finished with 24 points. In the first meeting with Piedmont in mid-January, Asidanya kept the Pride in the game and finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.
C – Breya Cunningham
(La Jolla Country Day) 6-4 Sr.
The State Freshman of the Year in 2020 hasn’t repeated as a class winner but she is in rare company as a four-time All State Elite First Team selection. The Arizona-bound McDonald’s and Naismith All-American selection averaged a double-double for the fourth-straight season after averaging 18.4 points and 10.3 rebounds a game, plus 2.7 blocks, 1.9 steals and 1.2 assists each contest. Along with teammate and fellow Arizona-commit Jada Williams, the pair formed one of the top inside-outside combinations in the state, and while it resulted in a 29-4 record last season and a CIF San Diego Section Open Division title, her career was ended in the CIF Southern Regional Open Division by eventual state champion Etiwanda in a 47-42 loss. For her four-year career, Cunningham averaged 17.8 rebounds and 11.1 rebounds a game, and that translates into 1,888 career points and 1,180 career rebounds despite only playing 16 games as a sophomore in the pandemic-shortened 2021 season. Cunningham never made it to state championship although as a freshman in 2020 her team won the Southern Regional Open Division and was poised to play for a state championship where they were favored over Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, but less than two days before the game was to be played the CIF cancelled the state championships due to the pandemic beginning.
G – Addison “Addie” Deal (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) 6-0, Soph.
When Addie transferred from Pacifica Christian (Newport Beach) to Mater Dei after her freshman season, everyone knew Deal was “the real deal” after she led Pacifica Christian to a 26-6 record and the second round of the CIF Southern Regional Division II playoffs while averaging team-highs of 21.4 points, 5.4 assists and 3.9 steals a game, and was second with 6.8 rebounds a contest. For her efforts Deal was named First Team All State Freshman and was considered along with winner Aliyahna “Puff” Morris for State Freshman of the Year honors. Girls basketball analysts weren’t sure how her talent would translate to Mater Dei but it did, and big time. Now, she gets to join Morris as the only two sophomores to be selected All State First Team Elite, and once again she finished as the runner-up for State Sophomore of the Year. All Deal did was lead 29-4 and the final expanded No. 5 ranked Monarchs in scoring at 15.0 points per game. She was second in rebounding at 5.3 a contest and also added 2.7 steals and 2.0 assists per game, plus she connected on 57 three-pointers. In the one game we observed Deal, she tied for team high 17 points in a 62-50 victory over state-ranked Sage Hill of Newport Beach at the Mater Dei Matt Denning Hoops Classic.
W – Jordan Lee (St. Mary’s, Stockton) 6-0, Jr.
The Rams’ junior sensation was a near miss last season as an All State first 30 selection, although Lee did garner All State Underclass First Team honors. This year she goes all the way to the head of the class and lands a First Team Elite spot. After scoring 30 points against Oakland Tech in a 74-57 victory in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree, and then 26 points two weeks later against Oakland Tech in a 65-52 victory, she couldn’t get it done single-handedly in the third meeting despite going for a career-high 47 points in the Rams 82-71 loss to Tech in the CIF Northern Regional Division I title game. In the championship game of the Jamboree’s Platinum Division and in a 56-46 loss to top-ranked Open Division champion Etiwanda, and in a game where the team was in shellshock after senior star Nia Anderson went down with a season-ending knee injury, Lee held St. Mary’s in the game and finished with 23 points, six rebounds and four steals. The 5-Star ESPN rated recruit that gets a 96 scouts grade averaged 20.1 points, 7.4 rebounds 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game last season and made 42 three-pointers. Despite a freshman season shortened to eight games by COVID, Lee has 1,376 career points and if she has another season like this one she should crack the 2,000 career points mark. Lee currently has several dozen offers and recently picked one up from South Carolina. Other top schools offering include Stanford, Cal, Duke, Texas, UCLA and North Carolina.
G – Aliyahna “Puff” Morris (Etiwanda) 5-5, Soph.
Since we did the write-up for “Puff” Morris when she was named State Sophomore of the Year after snagging State Freshman of the Year the previous season, she has gotten her first two big-time offers from Michigan and California, with many more to follow. Morris is one of only two sophomores along with Addie Deal of Mater Dei to be named All State First Team Elite and now makes the jump up from being Third Team Elite as a freshman. With it she gets to join teammate Kennedy Smith as two players from the CIF Open Division state champions on First Team Elite. There were a lot of sophomores that had bigger numbers than Morris, but she was the point guard on the state’s top team and one of the nation’s top teams that played a grueling schedule. Even so, Morris was still the second-leading scorer on the team behind Smith, and on a 32-3 team with four scorers averaging 10 points a game or better. For the season she averaged 17.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, and led the team with 4.7 assists and 2.6 steals a game as well. Puff had 14 points, six rebounds and four assists in the buzzer-beating 69-67 state title-game victory over Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, but in that game just like all season, Morris was the Etiwanda floor general on offense and a solid defender who was instrumental in the various presses Etiwanda head coach and 2023 State Coach of the Year Stan Delus likes to unleash.
W – Mackenly Randolph (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) 6-0, Jr.
After being named All State Elite Second Team as a sophomore and being the runner-up to Kennedy Smith for State Sophomore of the Year, Randolph, the daughter of former NBA all star Zach Randolph, now joins teammate and Ms. Basketball Juju Watkins as well as Smith as a First Team Elite selection. For the second-straight year, Randolph was also the runner-up to Smith for State Junior of the Year honors. On the season for the 31-1 Trailblazers, MacKenly averaged a double-double 16.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She had 24 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Los Angeles Marlborough, and 31 points and 11 rebounds in a 69-56 win over Harvard-Westlake, both when Watkins was nursing an ankle. Against nationally-ranked Sidwell Friends of Washington D.C., Randolph went for a double-double 22 points and 14 rebounds. In a lopsided win over perennial Nevada power Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas at the Tarkanian Classic, Randolph went for 18 points and 26 rebounds, and last but not least, in a 65-51 victory over Southern Regional Division II champion Bonita Vista of Chula Vista, Mackenly hammered home a huge-double-double 27 points and 27 rebounds.
F – Kennedy Smith (Etiwanda) 6-1, Jr.
The State Freshman and Sophomore of the Year winner repeated this year when she snagged the State Junior of the Year honors. It’s also a second-straight All State First Team Elite selection for Smith, who was without question the Ms. Basketball runner-up to Juju Watkins of Sierra Canyon. The only other two players in the past 15 years to win class honors in their first three years were Katie Lou Samuelson, at Edison (Huntington Beach) in 2012 as a freshman, and at Mater Dei of Santa Ana in her sophomore and junior years of 2013 and 2014, and all-time leading scorer Destiny Littleton from 2014-2016 at Bishop’s of La Jolla. Etiwanda had a lot of talent but Smith was unquestionably the top player on an Eagles’ team that went 32-3 and won its first ever state championship when they tripped Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) at the buzzer, 69-67 in the CIF Open Division state championship game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The versatile but powerfully-built Smith, who pretty much can play any position on the floor, finished with a huge double-double and game highs of 30 points and 13 rebounds, and a game-high six steals. Plus, she was 9-of-9 from the free-throw line, and the one three-pointer she made was with her foot on the NBA three-point arc. On the season, Kennedy averaged 24.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks per game. Smith, an ESPN 5-Star recruit, already has a ton of offers. Among the top schools that have offered are South Carolina, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Cal, Duke and Louisville.
G – Juju Watkins (Sierra Canyon, Chatsworth) 6-0, Sr.
Watkins couldn’t duplicate things this season by helping bring a second straight CIF Open Division state championship to Sierra Canyon, but she did help the Trailblazers to a 31-1 record, a CIF Southern Section Open Division championship, and she repeated as the Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year with the only real competition from Kennedy Smith of Etiwanda. Watkins is the first back-to-back Ms. Basketball winner in over two decades, the last being one of high school, college and professional top superstars Diana Taurasi, the 1999 and 2000 honoree, with many longtime girls basketball analysts agreeing that Watkins is the most dominant girls high school player to come along since Taurasi. Besides the Ms. Basketball honor, Watkins has a long list of additional awards. The USC-bound Watkins is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023 according to ESPN. Another prestigious honor for Juju is being named the 2023 Naismith High School Player of the Year. For the season Juju averaged 27.3 points, 13.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game, and she shot 85.7 percent from the free-throw line and just under 40-percent on three pointers with 55 made. Watkins posted 15 double-doubles and while her season high of 23 rebounds on two occasions doesn’t make the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, her season and career high 60 points with 21 rebounds in a late January win over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks will take its place on the Most Points (Game) list in the record book.
G – Jada Williams
(La Jolla Country Day) 5-8, Sr.
The Torreys, who finished No. 4 in the final expanded rankings, have two players on the All State Elite First Team just like Etiwanda and Sierra Canyon, and the result is the Arizona-bound Williams joins fellow Arizona-committed Breya Cunningham as a First Team Elite honoree and moves up after garnering a Second Team Elite selection as a junior after moving west from Missouri following her sophomore season. Williams, an ESPN 5-Star rated point guard, who like Cunningham was a McDonald’s and Naismith All-American, originally transferred to Country Day after committing to UCLA, but decided to switch and join Cunningham at Arizona. Last season for the 29-4 Torreys, Williams was second on the team to Cunningham in scoring at 13.1 points per game, she led the team in assists and steals at 4.7 and 2.3 per game respectively, and was third with 4.3 rebounds a contest. Williams also led the Torreys with 63 made three-pointers, and she shot 90 percent from the charity stripe making 57 of 63 free throws.
C – McKenna Woliczko (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) 6-2, Fr.
It isn’t often that a freshman snags one of the 10 spots on the All State Elite First Team, but there’s little question the Monarchs’ two-sport star is not only more than deserving, she’s probably not just in the top 10, but the top five in the state this year. The State Freshman of the Year runs the court like a gazelle, is close to being able to dunk, and among her many accolades is she is the first freshman to ever be named both the San Francisco Chronicle All Metro and Bay Area News Group Player of the Year. Another one we’ll add is that she’s just been listed as our NorCal Player of the Year for a list that goes back to the 1970s. With Connecticut-committed junior standout Morgan Cheli missing 17 games for Mitty, a lot of the load fell on Woliczko and she played with poise beyond her years. On the season Woliczko averaged 20.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She shot 62 percent from the field, and part of that is unlike a lot of players nowadays, McKenna likes to use the glass. Her numbers came on a team that finished 28-3 and was the CIF Northern Regional Open Division champion. In her final two games, an 86-49 victory over Salesian (Richmond) in the NorCal Open title game, and a buzzer-beating heartbreaking 69-67 loss to Etiwanda in the Open Division state championship, Woliczko had two double-doubles, 29 points and 21 rebounds, and 18 points and 11 rebounds, respectively. Two things that are scary about the girl they call “McDub” is she isn’t close to her full potential that already has garnered her offers from Stanford, South Carolina, USC, Tennessee, Ohio State, UCLA, California, Arizona, and many more, including Pacific, the alma mater of her parents. McKenna also is currently starring on a Mitty softball team that has been ranked top 10 in the state. Note: See end of second & third team writeups for special mention regarding a different Mitty player.
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
Note: Co-founder Mark Tennis contributed to this report.