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UP-AND-COMERS

Young talent recognized on all-VOL team

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UP-AND-COMERS

East Union guard Olivia Vezaldenos elevates toward the basket for a layup in a 53-35 win over visiting Oakdale on Jan. 30. Vezaldenos is one of four area standouts named to the All-Valley Oak Leagu...

JOHN-JOEL GRIFFITHS/Bulletin file photo/


POSTED March 12, 2014 12:44 a.m.

By JONAMAR JACINTO

The Bulletin

The future is now for Valley Oak League girls basketball.

Of the 12 players named to the All-VOL first and second teams, including Most Valuable Player Allison Schmidt of Kimball, only three are seniors and four are underclassmen.

“The league is in good hands,” East Union coach Jim Agostini said. “It has a lot of good, exciting young players coming up. I’ve been coaching for 15 years now, and the girls game is continuing to evolve. We are seeing more young players coming in with good skill level.”

Two of those underclassmen recognized by VOL coaches helped Agostini lead East Union (9-5, 19-9 overall) back to the postseason after a one-year absence. The quick turnaround can be attributed to returning sophomore point guard Olivia Vezaldenos and 6-foot-2 freshman Loretta Kakala.

Vezaldenos was the league’s leading scorer with 18 points per game, a number inflated by her 40-point scoring outburst in a 61-56 win over rival Sierra. She eclipsed the 20-point mark in six league games and also averaged 4.3 assists and 4 steals.

Kakala was arguably the VOL’s top low-block player who also displayed the skill and footwork of a guard. She averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks and turned in seven double-doubles despite limited minutes due to foul trouble.

“We’re excited to have them back for the next couple years,” said Agostini, who had another freshman starter in Ruby Dauby. “They both ranked in the top five of every major category in league.”

Elisabeth Alexander and Aljanea Brown of second-place Weston Ranch (11-3, 19-9) were selected to the first team.

Alexander, a junior wing, enjoyed a breakout second season at the varsity level with 12.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. She logged her first career triple-double (16 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks) in a 71-51 rout of Sonora. Third-year senior Brown averaged 11.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals. Junior guard Rauline Martinez (13.0 points, 4.1 assists, 2.7 steals) was a surprising snub, as she settled for honorable mention.

Manteca fourth-year guard Jessica Hasal (14.2 points, 2.4 steals), Sierra sophomore guard Kayla Wilson (8.5 points, 3.3 assists) and Lathrop senior center Loreal Taylor (13.2 points, 9.4 rebounds) were named to the All-VOL second team.

Manteca sophomore Elizabeth Tolbert and Weston Ranch center Victoria Gulley both made the honorable mention and All-Defensive Team lists. Sierra senior Celine Barber also earned honorable mention. Sierra’s Haley Silva and East Union’s Victoria Vezaldenos were selected for the All-Defensive Team.

First-time league champion Kimball (13-1, 25-4) has four players represented on the all-league first and second teams. Schmidt averaged 11.4 points overall in her junior campaign. Another Jaguar of note is 5-10 freshman Donwanae Anthony (13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds). Mike Granillo is Coach of the Year.

Sonora junior point guard Bailey Henington earned a spot on the first team for a second straight year, but she will be denied an opportunity to do so for a third time; the Wildcats are moving to the Mother Lode League next school year.

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