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Basketball, soccer accolades continue as All CIF-Southern Section teams are announced 

BY LOREN KOPFF • @LORENKOPFF ON TWITTER • April 3, 2020

The final high school basketball and soccer games may have been played in late February or early March, but the final CIF-Southern Section awards were handed out this past week, putting the official close to the 2019-2020 season. A total of five area basketball players, plus one girls basketball head coach were recognized one last time. Previously, five area boys and five girls soccer players were named to the All CIF-SS team for their respective divisions.

Cerritos High junior Alexander Archer was one of 10 players named to the Division 3AA team. Archer led the Dons with 365 points, good for an 11.8 points per game average, this past season and helped guide Cerritos to a 23-8 record and its second straight undefeated 605 League championship. In addition, Archer averaged 22 points, 9.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in three playoff games as the Dons reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history.

“I’m so happy for Alex, his teammates and his family for making it on the All-CIF team,” said Cerritos co-head coach Jonathan Watanabe. “He deserved it. Alex becomes the 11th player in school history to make it onto an All-CIF team, most recently following Evan Leonard and Aaron Wright as first team selections.”

Previously, Archer was named the 605 League’s Most Valuable Player and was one of five first team players to be named to the 2019-2020 HMG-Community News Winter All-Area Team. In addition to scoring, Archer led the Dons in rebounds, assists and steals this past season.

“Alex has been amazing, coming back from a broken arm last season to play in our last six league games and lead us to our first league championship in 23 years,” Watanabe said. 

Archer also had a knee injury in the offseason between his sophomore and junior seasons and the longtime Cerritos head coach adds that the best part is that Archer is not even close to his full potential.

Valley Christian High senior Malvin Payero was named to the All-CIF Division 3A team after leading the Defenders with 560 points (22.4 ppg.). V.C. won its first 11 games of the season and finished 20-9. Payero was also the HMG-CN’s Player of the Year for his accomplishments this past season. His 560 points were 155 points more than the next area player.

Finally, Norwalk High senior Christopher Herrera was named to the All-CIF Division 4AA team after leading the Lancers to the quarterfinals. Herrera led the Lancers with 349 points (11.6 ppg.) and was a second team member on the HMG-CN All-Area Team. Norwalk went 18-12 this past season won 10 straight games at one point and came within three points of advancing to the semifinals.

For the girls, it was clean sweep in Division 5AA as Artesia High sophomore Sydnee McKee and freshman Samerika Young were named Co-Players of the Year and Shonyta Pouncey was named Coach of the Year.

“Again, that team, myself…we’re just blessed,” Pouncey said. “I’m honored, I’m humbled…man, I can’t really even put it into a bunch of words. But the girls definitely deserve it. Samerika and Sydney worked really hard.”

Young led the Lady Pioneers with 406 points, a 12-point average, and McKee followed with 366 points (10.8 ppg.) as the team won the divisional championship. Young started the season slow, scoring no more than 14 points in any of the first 17 games. But over the final 18 games, she scored at least 20 points half a dozen times and reached at least 15 points another four times/

McKee, who shined as a freshman last season, scored 91 points in six playoff games to spark the Lady Pioneers to a 26-8 record and a Division 5 AA championship.

“In my early years, it was always about the kids, the kids, the kids, my players, this team,” Pouncey said. “And I still, to this day, always say it first. I tell them all the time, when you lose a game, it’s only my fault. And when you win it, it’s always going to be because you guys are just great players. I think the best part is that both of these kids got a chance to be players of the year in their playoff division. That is something they will have for an eternal lifetime.”

In boys soccer, Norwalk senior goalkeeper Juan Pablo Camacho and junior forward Erick Velasco were named to the All CIF Division 3 team, Artesia senior forward Jose Aguilar and sophomore forward Jose Gudino to the All CIF Division 4 team and V.C. sophomore forward Josiah Alvarez to the All CIF Division 6 team.

Aguilar led the Pioneers, and the area, with 36 goals and was named the HMG-CN Player of the Year while Velasco was second in the area with 18 goals. Camacho, Gudino and Velasco were also named to the HMG-CN first team.

In girls soccer, La Mirada High senior forward Isabel Loza and junior goalkeeper Sage Strohman were named to the All CIF Division 2 team while V.C. senior midfielder Megan Bouma, senior goalkeeper Cassidy Samuelson and junior midfielder Sophia Schrock were named to the All CIF Division 5 team.

Schrock led the Lady Defenders with 20 goals while Bouma was next in line with 15 goals. Both were on the HMG-CN first team while Samuelson allowed 14 goals in 21 games, posted nine shutouts and was named to the HMG-CN second team.

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