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Cerritos, Gahr, Valley Christian boys basketball dominated area

2014-2015 WINTER ALL-AREA TEAMS

By Loren Kopff

It was a good winter season for a trio of area boys basketball teams as one team advanced to a divisional championship game and the second round of the state regionals, another went to the second round of the state regionals as well and the third proved to be a bigger force in the Suburban League. The Cerritos girls basketball team was clearly a step above everyone else while on the soccer field, Norwalk and Valley Christian boys were the big winners. Here are the recipients of the 2014-2015 Los Cerritos Community News Winter All-Area Teams

BOYS BASKETBALL

FIRST TEAM

Marvin Bragg (Gahr)

Gregory Carlyle (Gahr)

Jeremy Carlyle (Gahr)

Evan Leonard (Cerritos)

Vaj Rice (Valley Christian)

SECOND TEAM

Stedmon Bryant (Valley Christian)

Henry Buycks (Cerritos)

Johnny Johnson (Valley Christian)

Dontae Smith (Artesia)

Jordan Volpei (Norwalk)

THIRD TEAM

Darrell Harris (Gahr)

Ronald Massey (Valley Christian)

Jordan Mitchell (Valley Christian)

Malik Smith (Gahr)

Antony Thomas (Whitney)

HONORABLE MENTION

Tim Han (Whitney)

Daniel Morales (John Glenn)

Justin Smith (Gahr)

David Suarez (Norwalk)

Akil Williams (Artesia)

PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR IN 2015-2016

Semaje Chatman (Artesia)

Devion Smith (Artesia)

Gary Williams (Artesia)

Trenton Abundo (Cerritos)

Brandon Yoon (Cerritos)

Evan Anderson (Gahr)

Keith Stacy (Gahr)

Hugo Anguiano (John Glenn)

Cruz Gomez (John Glenn)

Nathan Lopez (John Glenn)

Greg Deed (Norwalk)

Keno Valdenor (Norwalk)

Robert Downs (Valley Christian)

Jalen Hines (Valley Christian)

Heaven Flores (Whitney)

Michael Hamakawa (Whitney)

Player of the Year: He became a force on the varsity team last season but Cerritos junior Evan Leonard stepped it up a few more notches. Leonard averaged 21.8 points a game for the Dons and scored at least 40 points three times including a career-high 42 points in an overtime victory against Mayfair. Leonard also reached the 30-point plateau five other times.

Coach of the Year: Cerritos head coach Jonathan Watanabe, the longtime veteran of the Suburban League, did something no other league coach did this past season-beat league champion La Mirada and Mayfair. His Feb. 2 home win over Mayfair was his first ever over the Monsoons. Watanabe also won 17 games for the fifth time in his 14seasons with the Dons.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

FIRST TEAM

J’Nae Harrison (Norwalk)

Taylor Hirata (Cerritos)

Alyssa Movchan (Cerritos)

Alana Soltis (Gahr)

Angelica Soltis (Gahr)

SECOND TEAM

Katy Feller (Valley Christian)

Tatiana Fominyam (Cerritos)

Nicole Lee (Whitney)

Kate Vande Vegte (Valley Christian)

Cailey Vitug (Cerritos)

THIRD TEAM

Jackie Aldana (Norwalk)

Keina Harris (Artesia)

Cheyenne McKinnie (Valley Christian)

Ifeoma Okoli (Cerritos)

Breanna Smith (Gahr)

HONORABLE MENTION

Natalie Cardenas (John Glenn)

Alex Fenderson (Valley Christian)

Lauren Magano (Gahr)

Danielle Tate (Norwalk)

Onica Yu (Artesia)

PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR IN 2015-2016

Zharia Simmons (Artesia)

Tracy Nakamura (Cerritos)

Kalea Trias (Cerritos)

Jheanine Carlyle (Gahr)

Saurianna Harrison (John Glenn)

Vanessa Rouse (John Glenn)

Mele Valele (Norwalk)

Elexis Carr (Valley Christian)

LiMei Vera (Whitney)

Player of the Year: Not only did Alyssa Movchan lead the Cerritos Lady Dons with a 13.3 points per game average, but the senior point guard finished her high school career with 1,240 points. Movchan became the school’s first 1,000-point scorer in 15 seasons and the first of the past 11 four-year varsity members to accomplish that feat.

Coach of the Year: In just his first year as a varsity head coach, Marcus Chinen brought a new comfort level to Cerritos. Chinen guided the Lady Dons to a 20-8 record, 11-1 in the Suburban League and the program’s first outright league championship since 2008. Of the eight losses, three came to teams from the tough Trinity League and three more were by five points or less.

BOYS SOCCER

FIRST TEAM

GK-Alexis Guerra (Norwalk)

F-Juan Alberto (Gahr)

F-Clay D’Amico (Valley Christian)

F-Gonzalo Velez (Norwalk)

M-Jason Alvarez (Norwalk)

M-Blake Christensen (Valley Christian)

M-Brian Marrocco (Valley Christian)

M-Francisco Sierra (Artesia)

D-Grant D’Amico (Valley Christian)

D-Jose Jasso (Norwalk)

D-Brent Van Meeteren (Valley Christian)

SECOND TEAM

GK-Misha Marson (Valley Christian)

F-Steven Espinoza (Artesia)

F-Julio Ponce (Norwalk)

F-Roger Ramos (Valley Christian)

M-Jesus Gudino (Artesia)

M-Alban Lujan (Gahr)

M-Jack Montoya (Valley Christian)

M-Jose Ortiz (Artesia)

D-Kevin Gutierrez (Gahr)

D-Patrick Perez (Norwalk)

D-Alan Torres (Gahr)

Player of the Year: As one of only two area players to score more than 10 goals this season, Valley Christian sophomore forward Clay D’Amico was clearly in a world by himself. D’Amico scored 22 goals with 15 coming in Olympic League action as he helped the Crusaders win their third straight league crown. D’Amico had four hat tricks this season including a seven-goal performance at Village Christian on Jan. 20.

Coach of the Year: Norwalk really never went away but head coach Vinson Pluma, who just finished his 12th season at the school, had the Lancers on top of the Suburban League. Norwalk shared a piece of the league title, the first time since 2010 and Pluma’s fourth overall. The Lancers finished with a 16-6-1 overall record, 9-3 in the circuit and the 16 wins mark the fifth time Pluma has done that. He now has a Norwalk coaching mark of 153-87-26.

GIRLS SOCCER

FIRST TEAM

GK-Cyndie Trejo (Artesia)

F-Chloe Garris (Valley Christian)

F-Jazmin Gomez (Norwalk)

F-Tobechi Udeh (Cerritos)

M-Erika Lizarraga (Cerritos)

M-Brittany Llanes (Artesia)

M-Karina Murguia (Artesia)

M-Breanna Sandoval (Norwalk)

D-Emily Escobar (Norwalk)

D-Daniella Lomeli (Norwalk)

D-Victoria Sanchez (Artesia)

SECOND TEAM

GK-Cynthia Flores (Norwalk)

F-Alondra Acosta (Artesia)

F-Lauren Castillo (Valley Christian)

F-Samantha Hernandez (Gahr)

M-Jessica Chen (Cerritos)

M-Valerie Chia (Norwalk)

M-Juliana Sierra (Cerritos)

M-Cassandra Wind (Valley Christian)

D-Alyssa Bestian (Valley Christian)

D-Alexis Gonzalez (Artesia)

D-Erin Pierce (Cerritos)

Player of the Year: Although most of her scoring came in December, Cerritos sophomore forward Tobechi Udeh opened up a lot of eyes around the Suburban League. Udeh, who was injured all of last season, scored an area-best 22 goals and posted a hat trick in three of her first four games of the regular season.

Coach of the Year: No one expected Artesia to do much this season but head coach Octavio Marquez got the most out of probably one of his youngest and inexperienced squads ever. Marquez guided the Pioneers to an 11-7-5 overall record and a third place finish in the Suburban League. Artesia’s roster consisted of three freshmen, five sophomores, six juniors and one senior. Marquez has now coached Artesia to seven straight playoff appearances.