ALL-CENTRAL COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
HALEY JONES, ARCHBISHOP MITTY
By SCOTT GIORGIANNI
If schools and players are ever predestined to meet, that could just be the case with Archbishop Mitty’s Haley Jones, our Prep2Prep CCS Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“Once I shadowed Mitty (in eighth grade), I realized how much I loved the culture and how I loved everything about it,” Jones says. “In my heart I knew Mitty was the right fit for me.”
And the Monarchs are glad to have her, to say the least.
“Haley’s versatility is what makes her special,” Mitty coach Sue Phillips comments. “Her upside is tremendous. She’s trying to achieve professionalism. It’s exciting to think about what the future may hold.”
In some ways, that future is now. Jones averaged 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. She shot 65% from the field, including 43% from three-point land, and recorded nine double-doubles. The five-star recruit has already attracted attention from just about every power conference, including the Pac-12. She stands 6’1” and though she’s slated at wing, you may as well call her a guard-forward-center combo (Phillips says she can guard “one through five” and is often put on the opponent’s best perimeter player).
Jones picked up the sport at an early age, which was easy to do given that her parents coached at Santa Cruz High and older brother Cameron played both basketball and football. In third grade she played on her first travel team—composed of fifth graders.
She also played regularly with her brother, and while his growth eventually outpaced his sister’s to the point where the siblings would restrict their games primarily to HORSE, she still practices post moves and improves on other skills with him when needed.
When Jones arrived at Mitty, she already had somebody to look up to: Heleyna Hill. The pair had known each other since they were in Kindergarten; Hill was in Cameron’s class and the two families were friends.
“She was always a really good player in the area that was older than me,” Jones says of Hill. “She showed me the ropes, helpful tips like to get to practice even earlier than Coach tells you to.”
In addition to competing at the highest level of high school basketball, she maintains a GPA close to 4.0. And while she admits she’s not completely comfortable with the presence of college scouts and extra attention, she believes she will be as time marches on.
Archbishop Mitty was ranked first in the nation for nearly the entire season, and fell just shy of a State Championship after rather easily wrapping up WCAL and CCS Open Division titles. Jones reflects that she became a more aggressive player, thanks in part to Phillips who pushes her team to the limits while also being its biggest cheerleader.
Jones played in a NBA arena for the first time this season, saying it has a different energy and a brighter court. It’s a stage that Jones will in all likelihood experience again as a Monarch, and certainly in college and beyond. But for now, it’s about getting ready for next season, when the Mitty girls will again be queens of the court.
“The four seniors are a big loss,” Jones says. “A lot of people that have not gotten a lot of run will grow into their roles, be more of an impact.”
Whatever happens with Mitty in 2017-18, one thing is certain: Jones is on the right track. She played against some of the best the Bay Area and beyond have to offer, and helped carry her team to the brink of a State Championship. Time will tell how far her ceiling is, and Mitty fans, coaches, and players can’t wait to find out.
Coach of the Year
SUE PHILLIPS, ARCHBISHOP MITTY
Peter Diepenbrock led Palo Alto to the CCS Division I title and the CIF NorCal Division I regional final and is the Prep2Prep CCS Coach of the Year.
By SCOTT GIORGIANNI
A school rich in tradition of athletic excellence, one of the most decorated coaches in California high school sports history, and one of the deepest, most talented rosters the Bay Area has ever seen—all part of a recipe that led to an immensely successful season for the Archbishop Mitty girls and for Sue Phillips, the Prep2Prep CCS Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
The Monarchs did everything this season except come home with the state title. They won 28 games, were the WCAL, CCS Open Division, and NorCal Open Division champions, and fell just shy in that final game to Clovis West—a team that had rivaled them all season for the top spot not just in California, but in the nation. In the postgame press conference, Phillips said she wouldn’t trade the current team for any other, and she meant it.
“We have a very unselfish group,” Phillips remarked. “I felt the girls were happy for each other’s successes. They did a great job from the standpoint of seeing the big picture.”
Phillips has certainly known what it’s like to reach the top of the mountain. In 24 years on the bench, she has over 600 career wins and has captured 19 CCS titles, 12 NorCal titles, and six State Championships.
This season, Phillips had a baker’s pantry of talent on her hands, including senior Madeline Holland, junior Karisma Ortiz, and nationally-recognized sophomore Haley Jones. Role players like Tahlia Garza, Heleyna Hill, Daniella Guglielmo, and Krissy Miyahara seem like after-thoughts when you glimpse at the numbers but therein lies the secret, perhaps, of Phillips’s genius: maximizing every girls’ talent while getting each to lessen individual accolades for a team effort.
Phillips cites the Hawaii tournament, in which the Monarchs edged Clovis West in overtime in the finale, as a tone-setting win. She also notes victories against Carondelet, Mission Hills, Sacred Heart Cathedral, and Bishop O’Dowd as key ones during the regular season.
In addition to her duties as girls varsity coach and math teacher at Mitty, Phillips has coached the USA Basketball U16 and U17 National Teams, and for the last decade-and-a-half the San Jose Cagers, an elite basketball club for girls grade five through 12.
“Coaching is teaching whether it’s USA Basketball, at a clinic, or with the Cagers,” she comments, adding with a laugh that teaching math “pays my mortgage.”
Phillips is always finding new ways to improve. One way has been through social media; check the tweets on her Twitter feed and they read like those of a motivational speaker or a philosopher.
“A few years ago I decided to I needed to find different ways to motivate,” Phillips comments. “I got my Masters in Performance Psychology. It got me looking beyond the X’s and O’s. I feel like I’m engaging that emotional and psychological piece so they can connect well beyond the gym. It’s about coming from a place of gratitude.”
Phillips is a member of the AMHS Athletic Hall of Fame, having starred in three sports as a student. She earned a Business Administration degree from Northwestern, which has found its way into her methodology.
“(After the state title game) I told them tears in this locker room should not be a reflection of how we conduct business. I feel bad for the girls not to end the season with a win, but it doesn’t taint my feelings about the season and the individual players,” Phillips remarks.
FIRST TEAM ALL-CCS
Madeline Holland, Archbishop Mitty
The St. Mary’s-bound Holland averaged 12.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, including 16.7 points per game in seven playoff matches. “She was the glue for us at times,” coach Sue Phillips said. Holland picked up a WCAL First Team honor this year.
Haley Jones, Archbishop Mitty
Jones led one of the top teams in the nation in points (15.8), rebounds (8.2), and steals (1.7). She converted over 60% of her field goal attempts and scored at least 10 points in 29 of 31 games. She also made the WCAL First Team, and Phillips says “I’ve not seen a more versatile player at her age in 25 years of coaching.”
Tatiana Reese, Woodside Priory
Through January 16th, Reese was averaging 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. She helped power the Panthers to a Division V CCS Championship, and scored 25 points in the NorCal title game. With a relentless motor, ability to score anywhere on the court, and superior court vision, she was one of the most exciting players in the CCS and led the Panthers to a 21-10 record.
Kayla Tahaafe, Eastside College Prep
Tahaafe was the engine behind the Division V State Champions. She averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.9 steals per game and was the undisputed leader on a young squad. She played taller than her 5’7” frame, and scored 29 points and corralled 13 rebounds in the NorCal Championship. “I think it’s just heart, and just passion,” Tahaafe said after her team won its second straight state title
IImar’I Thomas, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Thomas is headed to University of Cincinnati after a stellar prep career. This season she registered 25 points and 13.4 rebounds per game (through February 7th) and was her usual imposing defensive presence. For her efforts she earned the SF Chronicle Girls’ Metro Player of the Year. “Besides her obvious physical ability, her mental makeup has helped make her such a success,” coach LyRyan Russell told the Chronicle.
SECOND TEAM ALL-CCS
Greer Hoyem, Menlo-Atherton
Hoyem averaged 19 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game for a Bears team that blistered through the PAL-South and earned the Consolation Championship in the CCS Open Division playoffs. In addition to earning her second straight league MVP, she earned this year’s San Mateo Daily Journal Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year award.
THIRD TEAM ALL-CCS
ALMA HEIGHTS CHRISTIAN:
Gabby Giuffre, Hannah Hocom
EASTSIDE COLLEGE PREP:
Ra’Anaa Bey, Zion Gabriel, Mina Tameilau
HALF MOON BAY:
Jaden Anderson, Hannah Peterson
Alex Anthony, Josie Despars, Korie Seandel
Ilana Baer, Ofa Sili
MONTE VISTA CHRISTIAN:
NOTRE DAME-SAN JOSE:
Sara Langi, Ariana Margate
Skylar Burris, Lauren Koyama
Klara Astrom, Akayla Hackson, Hannah Jump
Sharon Roldan, Ava Williams
SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL:
Edina Del Rosario
SACRED HEART PREP:
SAN LORENZO VALLEY:
Leilani Augmon, Alexis Flores
Helena Batey, KiannaBriel Maldia
Mckenzie Duran, Nayeli Rodriguez, Michaela Thornton
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO:
Kellie Duran, Paige Uyehara
ST. FRANCIS CCC:
Maggie Burke, Alyssa Downs
Kyanna Davis, Caitlin Keding, Nyah Willis