All-Area Boys Basketball: Estrada changes Cardinals’ fortunes, earns Player of the Year honors


PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Cantwell Sacred Heart junior Jose Estrada is
the Daily News 2011-12 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
(Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)

Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary hasn’t had a lot of success on the basketball court in recent years.
The Cardinals were just 12-43 the previous two seasons, including winning just two of 27 games during the 2010-11 season. For some, there was very little reason for that to change.
Enter Jose Estrada, a junior transfer from Mexico who in one season changed the culture at the Montebello school, keying the Cardinals to a 27-6 record and a trip to the CIF-Southern Section divisional finals for the first time.
For his efforts, Estrada is the Daily News 2011-12 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Estrada is joined on the All-Area squad by first-team members Ryan Hall of La Habra; California’s Roberto Campos and Matt Lambrecht; Whittier’s Willie Pittman; and Cantwell’s Jacob Alaniz.
The Cardinals’ George Zedan is area Coach of the Year.
Cantwell’s Jose Estrada: “I just tried to help the team win. That’s my game, to drive to the basket. I’ve been playing like that all my life. I’m getting better with my jump shot and penetrating to the basket.”
Cantwell coach George Zedan: “”I’m happiest for the seniors. For them to have that type of experience and be able to go far in the playoffs, win a ton of games, win our tournament for the first time, it was a really big deal. I had an idea we would be able to compete right away. I didn’t know, in terms of wins and losses, where we would be. We were well above .500 in the summer, so secretly, I felt we would do well and surprise a lot of people. Going to a program that hasn’t had a lot of success, I felt there was nowhere to go but up. I felt it wasn’t going to be that difficult to turn things around. Did I feel we could get to the state playoffs, go to the finals in CIF? When I first took the job, I felt in a few years we could do something like that. It turned out to be a pretty neat season.”

ALL AREA BOYS BASKETBALL
Player of the Year – Jose Estrada, Cantwell, Jr.
Coach of the Year - George Zedan, Cantwell
First Team
Center: Ryan Hall, La Habra, Sr.
Forward: Matt Lambrecht, California, Jr.
Guard: Roberto Campos, California, Sr.
Guard: Willie Pittman, Whittier, Sr.
Guard: Jacob Alaniz, Cantwell, Sr.
Second Team
Forward: Taurean Oram, La Serna, Jr
Forward: Jared Wight, La Serna, Sr.
Guard: Taelin Webb, La Mirada, So.
Guard: Juan Quintero, Whittier, Sr.
Guard: Alex Imhof, La Habra, Sr.

Click below to read the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year stories:
Player of the Year Jose Estrada, of Cantwell
Coach of the Year George Zedan, of Cantwell

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  • ADR

    I grew up in Montebello and went to Cantwell in the early eighties. I am so proud of the way the team played and how they represented the extended Cantwell family. I hope this experience serves as catalyst for continuing excellence in athletics but also excellence as good citizens in their community. We should all be proud of our student athletes. They can be from Montebello, Whittier or El Rancho….it doesn’t matter….we should all highlight their achievements. Good job Cantwell and I can hardley wait for next year!

  • Steely Don

    Zedan was clearly above the fray in area hoops for the same reason that Beltran was the obvious choice for area football honors. Both coaches led their squads to a totally unexpected level, and both men deserve this recognition.

    As we congratulate coach Zedan for his achievement, we must remember that La Serna’s amazing journey to the finals was disregarded, so that Mahlstede could pretend to go out on top. Far from doing that, Jack’s Chiefs suffered perhaps their worst first-round defeat in a long list of first-round defeats.

    In an attempt to rectify this injustice, let me name Beltran as MY all-area Coach of the Year for the 2011-12 season. Everyone who follows football knows he did the best job, so my mention of it here just states the obvious.

  • Who won?

    Didn’t Mahlstede beat Beltran head-to-head?

  • Steely Don

    @Who Won: When La Serna faced Muir in the PLAYOFFS, who won? When Santa Fe faced Muir in the PLAYOFFS, who won? Forgive me for applying just a touch more significance to a CIF Championship tournament than to a local, non-elimination encounter.

    Historically, the Chiefs cling to their league titles and even single game wins with ferocious pride, because they have nothing else to celebrate. When 6000 Chiefs fans showed up in ’06 to see Santa Fe play Schurr for a CIF title, it was proof-positive that THIS is what matters in high school football.

    And now, in a year when Santa Fe is highly rated and La Serna is thought to be rebuilding, the Lancers go all the way to the finals. What does our friend ‘Who Won’ have to say? He wants to talk about a single league win, which he feels is reason enough to enshrine Jack, a man who is walking away ringless.

  • UndertheRimBBall

    WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT FOOTBALL ON A BASKETBALL BLOG? If you don’t have anything positive to say about those mentioned in the article STAY OFF!

    On that note: Congrats to Cantwell’s Estrada and Zedan for a Magical season. Also Congrats to the two Cal High Boys for making 1st team all area. Estrada and Lambrecht are just juniors…Can’t wait until next year!

  • Steely Don

    I direct my esteemed blogging partner ‘Under the Rim’ to my earlier posts on this very thread wherein I praised Zedan along with Beltran. My tangential comments speak to the credibility of any and all honors bestowed by Ramirez.

  • joe dankert

    Beltran had his team peak at the right time. No doubt or legit argument. League champs and lose in round 1 or 3rd place and play in the CIF championship?
    CIF championship any day.
    Give credit to those who deserve. He took over a pretty good, pretty good, program and has built it up to semis with experienced players then finals with less experience.
    Very important is that LS, who I do not care for that much, got mad after Cal defeat, and worked wonders thereafter. I dont care if they lost by 200 to WC.