2011 ALL-AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL
Player of the Year: Michelle Miller, Junior, Guard, Pasadena Poly
Coach of the Year: Hon Trieu, Keppel
Guard: Gina Henderson, Junior, Monrovia
Guard: Ahsia Owens, Senior, Muir
Forward:Alyson Lock, Sophomore, Keppel
Center: Mian Dingle, Senior, Maranatha
Guard: Julianna Okamoto, Senior, Arcadia
Guard: Jade Richard-Craven, Senior, Pasadena Poly
Guard: Vanessa Romero, Senior, Flintridge Sacred Heart
Forward: Itos Aikenbare, Senior, La Salle
Forward: Charley Parker, Senior, Rio Hondo Prep
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
When it’s all said and done, Pasadena Poly’s Michelle Miller could be one of the best to ever play basketball in the CIF-Southern Section’s storied history.
Miller led the Panthers to a CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA championship this season. She was voted CIF-SS Division 5AA Player of the Year and finished her junior season as the state’s scoring leader by averaging 33 points along with 13 rebounds, 2.9 steals, 2.1 assists and 1.9 blocked shots.
With seemingly every goal accomplished, what’s left to conquer on the court?
Funny you should ask.
Miller is on pace to finish second all-time in the Southern Section for most points in a career behind Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller (3,446). Michelle Miller already etched her name in Southern Section lore when this season she became No. 5 on the list of players with most points in a season (990) and passed the likes of another legend, three-time WNBA MVP and four-time Olympic champion Lisa Leslie.
“To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Cheryl Miller is an incredible honor,” she said.
“I think that it would be an incredible culmination of my years of dedication and practice to reach the top of the CIF-SS scoring list.”
She has a 5.0 GPA (yes, 5.0) and has her sights set on playing at USC, with hopes of earning a guaranteed spot into medical school through USC’s B.A./M.D. program. Harvard and Princeton round out the top three schools she’s considering.
Miller’s a three-sport star who spends more time acknowledging her coaches, trainers and teammates instead of the God-given ability that’s allowed her to seemingly dominate every facet of her life.
For her prowess, remaining humble through it all and leading the Panthers to their second CIF basketball championship, Miller is the Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
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Miller said she inherited her focus from her father, an ophthalmologist. It was Pasadena Poly coach Kim Weber who played an instrumental role in facilitating her growth into a leader of the team, assistant coach Amber Gravely who helped develop team chemistry and club coach George Quintero whose passion she feeds off. She continues to be explosive on the court with the help of trainers Rey Diamond and Nick Sanderson, who elevated her confidence while improving the efficiency of her jump shot.
Miller went on to reel off the names of her entire team and meticulously described how each of them served a crucial role in winning a division championship.
“This season was really about us as a team winning that banner, not just me scoring lots of points every game,” she said.
“In the championship game, when I was a little frustrated early on with foul trouble, they stepped up and gave us the early lead.”
It’s that kind of quality that often is overlooked when reading her stats.
“She’s very well aware she’s in a team sport,” Weber said, “and as well as she excels individually, without her teammates there she wouldn’t do as well as she does.”
Keppel’s Alyson Lock once again was dominant in the Almont League. She also was versatile in playing all five positions for the Aztecs (27-3, 10-0), who cruised past league opponents and made a semifinal run to the CIF-SS Division 2A playoffs before losing to eventual champion Canyon.
Lock, a forward, also led the Aztecs to a first-round CIF State Division II Southern California Regional playoff appearance and earned first- team All-CIF honors. She averaged 17 points, 9 rebounds,
5 assists and 2 steals en route to a second consecutive league co-Most Valuable Player honors. As strong as she was offensively, it’s her defensive prowess that at times was overlooked.
“She plays hard all the time,” Keppel coach Hon Trieu said. “She never takes plays off. Offensively she’s very unselfish, passing first before shooting unless we needed her to score.”
In his first season, Trieu led the Aztecs on an impressive campaign despite losing a lot of talent from last year’s team. Trieu’s Aztecs lost only one game in the regular season and headed to the playoffs with an impressive 22-game winning streak.
For leading Keppel to another deep playoff run and getting the most from his players, Trieu is the Star-News Coach of the Year.
Imari Brown arrived on the scene with the kind of basketball savvy and athleticism that would make any college recruiter drool, particularly over her deft shooting stroke. That she’s only a sophomore is what makes Brown that much more impressive.
The 5-foot-9 guard/forward led Duarte to a 25-3 overall record and 14-0 mark in the Montview League that handily won the league crown. She averaged 17.3 points, 13.9 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 8.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. She led the Falcons to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 4A quarterfinals and an appearance in the CIF State Division IV Southern California Regional playoffs before earning first-team All-CIF honors.
Gina Henderson was voted one of two team captains this season and led the way for Monrovia. The 5-foot-8 guard helped the Wildcats (17-7, 10-0) finish undefeated in the Rio Hondo League and to a second-round appearance in the CIF-SS Division 3A playoffs.
Henderson averaged a team-high 15.6 points and 7.2 assists to go along with 4.8 steals and 2.9 rebounds. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder she was voted Most Valuable Player of the Rio Hondo League.
Maranatha’s Mian Dingle was a dominant force for the Minutemen. Her speed and physicality in the middle made her a strong presence. She averaged 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 1.4 assists while leading Maranatha to a surprising quarterfinal run in the CIF-SS Division 4AA playoffs.
Muir’s Ahsia Owens was as consistent as they came for Muir. The 5-7 guard earned first-team All-Pacific League honors after scoring 12.8 points and grabbing 3.6 rebounds per game. She led the Mustangs to a 21-8 overall record and a quarterfinal run in the CIF-SS Division 3AA playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Serra.