ALL-NORTH COAST SECTION
Player of the Year
ANGEL JACKSON, SALESIAN
By HAROLD ABEND
In a section filled with elite players, including a few who continually posted astronomical numbers in the scoring column, it was a player who lifted her team to an NCS Division III title and a berth in the CIF Open Division regional final who stood head and shoulders above the rest this year, both literally and figuratively.
On the season Jackson averaged a double-double 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds plus 4.6 blocks a game. In a 27-6 season for the Pride she had 21 double-doubles and three triple-doubles (with blocked shots), including a 31-point, 21-rebound, 10-block performance when she was matched up with Van Dyke in a 68-46 Salesian victory.
Jackson had 12 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Folsom at the West Coast Jamboree, but after 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a 50-46 victory over Cardinal Newman in the NCS Division III title game, she backed up a huge performance by teammate Makayla Edwards in the CIF Northern Regional Open Division quarterfinals to finish with 13 points and 13 rebounds with five blocks, and she controlled the paint in a 57-52 road victory over Folsom in the semifinals.
The only knock on Jackson is she sometimes doesn’t look for her shot and is content to let others do the scoring, but that’s an area she’s working hard on with the encouragement of Salesian Coach Stephen Pezzola.
“Angel is a team-first player that isn’t always interested in her stats,” Pezzola remarked. “We’ve been encouraging her to look for her shot more often and she’s been coming around, working on her hooks and turn and face. We expect huge things from her next year.”
“Yes, I am looking to score more and making sure I go up stronger,” was Jackson’s answer to her upping her offense.
Jackson will certainly be an even larger force with her 6-5 frame if her offensive output increases, but still it’s on defense where she really sparkles.
“Angel really excels on defensive help and has become a real force on defense by learning the team game and when and how to help,” Pezzola said. “On offense she’s recognizing the double team and is making great passes even if they don’t always result in assists. What she does is help the team."
The upside of her height, defense, and team-first attitude is she has major interest from Division I colleges and the list that’s already pretty long seems to grow every day.
Currently the list includes Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Loyola Marymount, Nevada Las Vegas, Texas, UCLA, USC and Washington State, plus others.
The season ended for Jackson and the Pride in a loss to Archbishop Mitty in the Northern Regional Open Division semifinals but Jackson went out with a bang after finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds with four blocks.
“Personally, I feel my season went pretty good,” Jackson said. "We didn’t make it all the way but we had many accomplishments and it was truly a great season.”
With Jackson winning the girls NCS top honor gives Salesian a clean sweep with Georgetown-bound senior James Akinjo winning the boys NCS Player of the Year.
Coach of the Year
MALIK MCCORD, BISHOP O’DOWD
Bishop O’Dowd’s Malik McCord is the choice for Prep2Prep NCS Coach of the Year.
By HAROLD ABEND
It was supposed to be somewhat of a rebuilding year, and in a way it was for the Dragons and Coach Malik McCord, who although it seems like just yesterday when one of the brightest young coaches in Northern California took the O’Dowd helm, just completed his ninth season at the school in the Oakland hills.
Now, after what turned out to be another successful season for the young O’Dowd girls, McCord has been named the Prep2Prep North Coast Section Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
Since he arrived at O’Dowd McCord has always scheduled tough, and this past year was no different, despite the fact Zakiya Mahoney was the only senior on the roster. Their second and third games were against Archbishop Mitty and Pinewood.
From there they went to the Nike TOC where they opened with a win over Florida No. 5 ranked Montverde Academy but took some lumps after that. They came back to the Bay Area and played in the Platinum Division of the West Coast Jamboree where they opened with a win over CIF Division III state champion West Campus Sacramento, but then ran into Mitty again, and then lost to Salesian in the third place game.
Two weeks later they hosted Windward in their inaugural MLK event and took the CIF Open Division champions to overtime before falling, 77-71.
“These kids reminded me of my first year when Oderah Chidom and Kendall Waters (who went on to Duke and Cal respectively) were freshmen. I had to make a tough schedule early to get them experience and toughen them up like that first year,” McCord said.
“Things started clicking with the Windward game,” continued McCord. “We told the girls ‘you’ve seen everything now.'”
From there they continued an unbeaten streak in first the Hayward Area and then West Alameda Foothill League play under McCord by winning a ninth straight league titles and 118 straight games.
O’Dowd went into the CIF North Coast Section Division II title game as an underdog to Miramonte and came away with a 75-71 victory behind a huge performance by Prep2Prep Junior of the Year Jada Holland.
“The girls wouldn’t have won that NCS title without that tough schedule,” McCord remarked.
The NCS D2 title meant going to the Open Division and no one expected the Northern Regional No. 8 seed O’Dowd to reverse two previous losses to Mitty, and they didn’t, but it was still a great season for McCord and his girls.
From that first year in 2009-2010 when the Dragons were coming off an NCS Division III championship and they went 27-4 and won again and the next three years, this NCS title is the first since then for McCord for his fifth in nine years and first in Division II. McCord has also led O’Dowd to three CIF Northern Regional Division III titles and one Open Division championship, and two CIF Division III state championships and one CIF Open Division title in the first year of the Open Division when his 30-3 Dragons ironically beat Windward, 60-45 in the 2013 title game.
For his nine years the 2013 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year has won 30 games twice, a hard accomplishment in the game-restricted NCS, and he has a 229-54 overall record.
Another bit of irony is McCord wins the P2P NCS honor in the only year his team has failed to win 20 games.
“I want to win more than anything and we didn’t make it to state, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I really enjoyed the year,” concluded McCord.
Another thing that won’t change is McCord is the 2018 NCS Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NCS
Angel Jackson, Salesian
Although several other players had bigger numbers scoring-wise, no one impacted a game more with her size and defense than the MVP of the TCAL-Rock and our NCS Player of the Year. Jackson averaged a double-double 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds plus 4.6 blocks a game. In a 27-6 season for the Pride she had 21 double-doubles and three triple-doubles.
Ali Bamberger, Carondelet
The Cougars' junior post, who is rated right behind Jackson as the No. 2 center in Northern California, and one of the top posts in the state by every college recruiting service, was just nosed out as the NCS Junior of the Year by Jada Holland. Bamberger led Carondelet to the NCS Division I championship while averaging a double-double 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Jada Holland, Bishop O’Dowd
The West Alameda County–Foothill Player of the Year had a solid season but it took a huge performance in the Dragons' NCS Division II title-game upset victory over Miramonte with a game high 24 points, including 16 in the pivotal fourth quarter. On the season the always hustling Holland averaged 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 steals, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
Haley Van Dyke, Campolindo
The 6-0 Washington-bound Cougars' superstar was edged out as the Player of the Year but earned Prep2Prep Senior of the Year honors after finishing as the No. 3 reported scorer in the state at 29.8 points per game and her 17. 3 rebounds was the No. 5 reported mark. Her 4.8 steals, 3.8 assists and 3.5 blocks per game aren’t too shabby either. Van Dyke set the NCS single game scoring record twice this season with 56 points in a win against Brookside Christian-Stockton and then with 60 in an NCS D3 quarterfinal victory over Moreau Catholic. For her four-year varsity career Van Dyke scored 2,370 points, had 1,513 rebounds, plus 459 steals, 363 assists and 343 blocks.
Clair Steele, Miramonte
There have been some great players over the years at Miramonte, including 2016 grad and all everything and current college superstar Sabrina Ionescu, and 2008 graduate and Bay Area favorite Katie Batlin, plus others, but the Lehigh-bound Steele is right up there with the best. This past season she averaged 16.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game. For her career she finished as the No. 3 all-time scorer in Mats history behind Ionescu and Batlin with 1,564 career points with 539 assists and 328 steals.
SECOND TEAM ALL-NCS
Lesila Finau, Dublin
When Finau arrived four years ago the Gaels started to experience some success and this year the Minnesota-bound 5-10 wing was the only senior major contributor on a very young team that lost in the NCS D1 semis to Heritage but bounced back to win over Foothill-Sacramento in the D3 NorCals before bowing out in the quarterfinals. Finau, who rarely came out of the game, had 22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and four blocks against Foothill and averaged 20.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 4.8 steals and 1.6 blocks a game.
Makayla Edwards, Salesian
Some of the post-season area teams had Edwards lower than where we have her in the pecking order, and even though she is No. 2 on the team in scoring and rebounding with numbers that aren’t astronomical (9.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), the 5-10 solidly-built Edwards was a defensive stalwart in a Salesian system that stresses defense. Plus, she scored in some big games, like the 23 points she had at the Nike TOC in a win over La Jolla Country Day, and the 24 she had in the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinal 57-52 upset victory at Folsom.
Maiya Flores, Cardinal Newman
What a year for senior leader and all-time Newman leading scorer for either girls or boys, who held it together despite her family losing their home and everything in the fires that reduced all their belongings to ash, the school half burning down closing the gym for 20 games and sending here and her Cardinals teammates on a 20-game road trip to start the season. This year Flores averaged 14.1 points and three assists per game and she leaves with 1,581 career points, and 133 3-pointers this season, a number that makes the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book.
Zakiya Mahoney, Bishop O’Dowd
The 5-9 Mahoney, who’s listed as a guard but can mix it up down low with the big girls with her own size and strength, earns an All-NCS second team honor for all the hard work she put in as the only senior on the 13-girl roster for a Dragons team that won the NCS Division II championship. Despite lacking a lot of height she still averaged a double-double 13.3 points and 10. 7 rebounds a game with four assists and 2.7 steals
Malia Mastora, St. Joseph Notre Dame
The NCS Sophomore of the Year is the only sophomore to be chosen for the second team after a very solid season for the top player on a 28-5 Pilots team that won the NCS Division IV championship. On the season Mastora averaged 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 1.5 assists, and just over a mere one turnover per game. She hit 59 3-pointers and shot 38-percent outside the arc and an exceptional 55-percent on 2-point shots for a player that plays mostly up top.
THIRD TEAM ALL-NCS
Anya Choice, Cardinal Newman
The flashy Newman guard, like all the Cardinals girls, had a trying season with the fire that closed their gym for the first 20 games and sent them on the road, but one of three sophomores strongly considered for the top NCS honor gets a spot on the third team after leading the team in scoring at 15 points a game while adding four rebounds and two steals.
Zhane Duckett, St. Joseph Notre Dame
Some coaches liked Sophie Nilsson as much as Duckett so we give her sophomore teammate a shout-out, but the third team spot that was going to go to one of them goes to the flashy guard in a squeaker, largely in part to her 21-point performance in a NorCal D1 win over a very solid McClatchy-Sacramento, and 17 points in their season-ending loss to St. Francis-Mountain View, both team highs. She averaged 11.4 points and 3.1 for both assists and steals per game.
Haylee Nelson, Newark Memorial
The 6-0 Nelson certainly had the numbers to be second team and she was a near miss, but just making All-NCS is an accomplishment and a well-deserved honor. She did have 26 points against Miramonte in the NCS D2 semifinals, but was held below her average with 15 in a NorCal D2 heartbreaking first round 47-45 loss to Silver Creek. After all was said and done, the MVAL MVP and three-sport star averaged 23.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.
Erin Tarasow, Miramonte
The Mats wing was one of three girls strongly considered but was edged out for the top NCS sophomore honor by Malia Mastora. However the 5-9 Tarasow, who is regarded as the No. 2 player on Miramonte, falls in as one of only three sophomores to be named All-NCS. Last season she averaged 10.5 points a game and made 71 shots from outside the 3-point arc, plus she was one of the team’s top defenders.
Mikaila Wegenke, Heritage
The top player on the Patriots and BVAL MVP gets the nod for a spot on the third team because of her solid all-around play on team that played a tough schedule and finished strong with wins over Dublin and Castro Valley before losing in the NCS Division I title game to Carondelet, and then bowing out in the NorCal D1 playoffs to eventual Northern Regional champion Sacred Heart Cathedral. This past season Wegenke averaged 13.8 points 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game on a team with a lot of contributors.
Grace Gebhardt, Lauren Kobashigawa
Bry Waters, Kieara Rios
Dawson Bell, Chiara Brown
Alexis Dibene, Claire Brown
Kamryn You Mak
CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF:
Ashley Thoms, Grace McGuire
Avery Cargill, Tal Webb
Erica Miller, Emily Howie
CLAYTON VALLEY CHARTER:
Camryn Figueroa, Tehya Bird
CONTRA COSTA CHRISTIAN:
Mele Finau, Kendra Grant
Ari Norton, Joanna Togiai
Indya Williams, Phoebe Faaita
MISSION SAN JOSE:
Shannon Chau, Meghna Nair
Sydney Mendoza-Beck, Katrina King
Destiny Jackson, Kaitlyn Vu
OAKLAND MILITARY INSTITUTE:
Jaden Krist, Sheriene Arikat
Ashley Gao, Jasmyne Huggins
Zoe Stachowski, Jenny Walker
RINCON VALLEY CHRISTIAN:
Beverly Bradley, Mykala Pakeman
SAN RAMON VALLEY:
ST. JOSEPH NOTRE DAME:
ST. PATRICK-ST. VINCENT:
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL: