Prep2Prep 2019-20 NCS Girls Basketball Honors
Heritage's Amanda Muse is the NCS Freshman of the Year.

NCS Freshman of the Year

There were several freshmen in the CIF North Coast Section this past season that had superior numbers to Amanda Muse, but as far as being an impact player the Patriots 6-3 post stood head and shoulders above all the other class of 2023 standouts.

“Amada absolutely met our expectations this year,” said Heritage Coach Rob Ocon. “We had hoped she would add depth in our rotation, increase our offensive and defensive team rebounding, add another offensive weapon, change shots on the defensive end, and take some pressure off her sister Abby Muse by providing much needed rest periods, and she did all of that.”

Her senior Boise State-bound big sister Abby has gotten her share of awards over her high school career, now it's little sister Amanda that gets a piece of the action after being named the 2019-2020 Prep2Prep NCS Freshman of the Year.

“Really, that’s awesome, thank you,” said Amanda when told she could add an NCS honor to being named first-team Bay Valley Athletic League. “It makes me very proud of how the season came together and how my hard work paid off. It makes me excited about the future.”

This past season Muse averaged 8.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, and while her top performances didn’t always come in Heritage victories, they did come against the toughest teams on the Patriots' schedule. She helped Heritage to a 22-7 record and first place at 10-0 in the BVAL, an NCS Open Division playoff berth, and a CIF Northern Regional Division I quarterfinal finish after a heartbreaking 54-52 loss on the road at Clovis North-Fresno.

Her top performance was at the MLK Classic against host and CIF Northern Regional Division I champion Bishop O’Dowd after Muse nearly helped produce an upset in a 54-48 loss where she went for a season-high 17 points with six rebounds and five blocks. In another top performance against a highly state ranked team, Amanda had 15 points and seven rebounds in a 57-42 loss to NCS Open Division runner-up and CIF Northern Regional Open Division semifinalist Cardinal Newman.

In games the Patriots won against top-notch competition, Muse put up 12 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in a 67-60 victory over P2P NCS Top 10 team California, and in a CIF NorCal D1 51-39 victory over McClatchy-Sacramento, she had 16 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

With her older sister in the limelight, how did that affect Amanda, and did it put any additional pressure on her with all the pre-season expectations? The answer is not really.

“Playing with Abby this year was an incredible experience and it made memories that I will cherish forever,” said Amanda. “It was a totally different experience of going from admiring her game from afar to learning from her as I played alongside her.”

“The only pressure I felt was to contribute alongside her in games and to keep up in the classroom,” continued Muse, who carries a 4.0 GPA."

Ocon agreed.

“I didn't feel and the girls never acted like there was added pressure on either of them,” Ocon remarked. “But they were both very competitive when matched up in drills throughout the season.”

What does Amanda think are her best attributes and what areas need improvement?

“Overall, my best attributes are that I am a little goofy, but at the end of the day I know what it takes and I work hard and I love being challenged,” Muse responded. “In basketball, I run the court well and am offensively minded. I am a good teammate and love feeding my teammates the ball.”

“I need to improve my rebounding skills,” continued Amanda on areas of improvement. “My sister is a huge rebounder, and next year those shoes will be mine to fill. I’m also working on expanding my range and becoming more comfortable with the ball in my hands.”

Ocon saw it in a little different way, and goofy wasn’t part of his assessment.

“Her attributes are competitive drive, self confidence and commitment,” Ocon said.

“Amanda has all the physical tools to be one of the highest recruits in her class,” continued Ocon. “Areas of improvement and consistency would be continuing to develop her game away from the basket, defense on and off the ball, and just overcoming the emotional maturity that comes with competing against some of the top players and teams as a younger player.”

According to Ocon: “Amanda was a good teammate - came to practices positive, full of energy and worked hard for her team.”

Big sister Abby isn’t the only basketball player in the family. Her father, Doug Muse, a Bay Area native who went to Moreau Catholic-Hayward, and her mother Amy Muse, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, both played at UC Santa Barbara where Doug had 1,050 career points in a four-year varsity career. Both Doug and Amy played professionally in Europe.

Little brother Aidan Muse, a 12-year old that is about 5-10 according to Amanda, plays basketball and water polo.

Speaking of water polo, Amanda was a member of the 2019 varsity Heritage girls water polo team that went 16-11 and 4-1 in the BVAL and made the NCS Division I playoffs.

“I love being in the pool,” Muse said.

A highlight of the season for Amanda and many of the other girls on the Patriots team came when Ocon and the team’s parents put together a bonding-type dinner after the championship game of the Gold Division of the West Coast Jamboree. Heritage was the host of the Gold Division and came up with an idea to host a dinner, win or lose, that included the girls from Hawaii’s Kamehameha Kapalama-Honolulu, the team they were playing in the title game. Heritage won 61-48 and while Amanda didn’t have a big game, after dinner everyone was a winner.

“My favorite memory of the season was the West Coast Jamboree when we played Kamehameha from Hawaii,” reflected Muse. “It was a team we were well matched with, and after a great game we enjoyed dinner with them. It was very enjoyable to make connections with them and just have dinner together, and I am still friends with a few of the girls. That was my favorite game this season, but I overall loved playing with Abby and that made the season most special.”

With Abby and several other seniors graduating, Amanda will be the centerpiece next season in the Patriots' attack.

“Amanda arrived into the program quiet and kind of feeling everything out with big sister Abby taking the lead,” said Ocon. “As the season progressed Amanda began to take on some of Abby's leadership attributes which was nice to see. With big sis now gone, we hope she can continue to develop into more of a leadership role and lead by example as Abby did on and off the court.”

“I am excited for the group of seniors next year and am looking forward to working hard with them on and off the court,” Muse said.

Not surprisingly Amanda is looking to Abby with respect to her own future.

“My goal is to follow my sister's footsteps and play in college,” Muse remarked. “I work hard so we will see where that takes me.”

“Hard work” and “working hard” were phrases Amanda used more than once in describing this past season and her future.

For now, the hard work has vaulted her to the top of the pecking order for freshmen in the North Coast Section. Congratulations to Amanda Muse, the 2019-2020 Prep2Prep North Coast Section Freshman of the Year.

Others considered include Ygnacio Valley's Leniyia Fulsom, Benicia's Peyton Holcomb, Moreau Catholic's Dymonique Maxie, Pinole Valley's Deadriana Prim, Campolindo's Allie Cummins, Upper Lake's Heaven’Lee Loans Arrow and Saulele Tanuvasa of St. Bernard’s.

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.