With Player of the Year Derrick Williams leading the way, the 2009 Daily News All-Area boys basketball team has more height than it has enjoyed in recent seasons.
The group also is blessed with speed and leadership that would make any coach happy.
Williams, La Mirada’s 6-foot-8, 215-pound center who has signed with USC, brings his 25 points and 10-plus rebounds a game as a starting point.
From there, other members of the first team are:
Jordan Sachs, a 6-5, 180-pound senior guard, whose versatility gave coach Mark Stewart more options than usual when setting up game plans.
Sachs averaged 27.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in leading the Highlanders to a 21-8 record overall and second place (8-2) in the Freeway League.
Sachs made 33 3-point baskets (shooting 53 percent), made nearly 80 percent of his free throws, averaged four assists and three steals per game.
His ability to penetrate, score from the outside and distribute the ball to teammates make him the complete package. He has signed with Westmont College.
Ryan Kelly, La Mirada’s 6-foot, 175-pound, senior play-making point guard, put pressure on opponents by challenging the basket and forcing them to make a decision between him and Williams close to the basket.
Kelly averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, two steals a game and made 41 percent of his 3-point attempts as the Matadores posted a 27-4 record that included an 11-1 mark as co-Suburban League champion and Division II-A semifinalist.
The All-Area center is La Serna’s Matt Bridge, a 6-7, 190-pound senior, whose presence on the floor forced opponents to alter their plans and helped the Lancers to a 17-10 record that included a 10-0 run through the Del Rio League.
“With Matt back there, we were able to extend our defensive perimeter because he was a shot-blocker, an intimidator, a defender, and a rebounder,” coach Mike Lowe said. “He did a lot of things that often are overlooked in the statistics.”
Averaging 9.7 points and seven rebounds for the season, he saved his best for last with an impressive CIF playoff effort against a very athletic San Bernardino team, scoring 14 points and recording eight rebounds and two steals in a 63-62 loss.
California’s Michael Arceo fills one All-Area forward spot after serving as the Condors’ go-to-player this season.
The 6-3, 175-pound senior averaged 15.2 points and 7 rebounds as California finished 12-13 overall and second in the Del Rio League with a 5-5 mark.
Arceo made 39 3-point baskets, scored at least 25 points three times and had 41 steals.
When the Condors’ best returning player left the team before the season began, it was Arceo who stepped up to become a team leader.
Montebello’s Andrew Torres completes the All-Area first team and is one of the area’s most complete players.
A 6-2, 210-pound forward and the All-Area team’s only junior, Torres can bring the ball up court against pressure, penetrate the lane, shoot from the 3-point line and muscle for rebounds against larger players.
He averaged 16 points for the season but 19 points a game in league leading the Oilers to an 18-11 record overall, including 7-3 for second place in the Almont League. He also grabbed seven rebounds a game and had a hand in eight more points with four assists per outing.
“He wasn’t our biggest player, nor our best 3-point shooter,” coach Marino Angulo said. “But he could score from outside or inside, and we could post him up and he’d get to the (free throw) and score from there. He was our best ball handler and could create his own opportunities as well as for the other players.”