P2P NCS Girls Basketball Honors
Salesian's Angel Jackson is the NCS Sophomore of the Year.

NCS Sophomore of the Year

It hard to argue that the 6-5 Jackson is not the No. 3 true big girl in the entire state behind Ayanna Clark of Long Beach Poly, and Loretta Kakala of Manteca.

The biggest difference is Clark is a senior committed to USC, Kakala is a senior that’s Louisville-bound, and Jackson is still a budding sophomore.

Clark was on a loaded Poly team that lost in the SoCal Open finals to eventual state champion Clovis West, while Kakala was injured and Manteca didn’t do much last season

On the other hand, once senior Sierra Smith went down with an injury, it was Jackson that was the linchpin of a Salesian team that had no senior starters but won the CIF North Coast Section Division III title after a second win over Bishop O’Dowd.

“Besides all the other improvements in her game over the last year she’s really blossomed at becoming a leader,” Salesian Coach Stephen Pezzola remarked.

Jackson led all Pride scorers at 11.2 points per game on a team with seven players averaging over six points a contest. She also grabbed 10.2 rebounds and blocked 5.8 shots per game. Her numbers are already formidable but would have been even higher had Pezzola not taken her out early in some TCAL – Rock League blowouts.

Also, Jackson didn’t need to score to impact a game, but when she did decide to score she was hard to stop.

In the first game against O’Dowd, a 39-38 road win, Jackson only had four points but she pulled down 15 rebounds, blocked five shots and had three steals. In the NCS D3 title-game 46-42 victory Jackson only had three points but tallied 16 rebounds and an amazing 14 blocked shots.

As is the case with young players she had a bad outing and fouled out in an early season loss to Campolindo, but in the rematch in the NCS D3 playoffs Jackson went for a triple-double with a season-high 25 points together with 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. Hers’ and the Pride’s season ended in a Northern Regional Open Division 72-49 loss at St. Mary’s-Stockton but Jackson still had 12 points and 14 rebounds with six blocks.

“This was a big growth year for Angel,” Pezzola said. “Her defense and shot blocking without fouling has steadily improved, she’s learning to work through being pushed and shoved, and she’s starting to develop a mean streak on offense.”

Nothing is official but according to Pezzola several to D1 programs are “sniffing around” with respect to Jackson, including (in alphabetical order) Arizona State, Cal, Loyola-Marymount, Oregon State, South Carolina and Washington.

It would not be a big surprise if this year’s 2017 CIF North Coast Section Sophomore of the Year wasn’t looking at NCS Junior of the Year honors after next season with a much larger list of potential D1 suitors.

NOTE: We would like to thank our media partners, coaches, parents, players and fans for contributing photos for our all-section features. We salute all of the players that have made this a wonderful season of NCS basketball.