The Southern League has belonged to Turlock Christian’s Halie Bergman, the lights-out shooting guard bound for the University of the Pacific.
Consider this then a passing of the torch.
Ripon Christian junior Teagan Manus was named the Southern League’s Most Valuable Player in a somewhat surprising vote of the league’s coaches.
Head coach Ed Mulder shared Coach of the Year honors with Turlock Christian’s Edwin Santiago after the two teams finished tied atop the league table at 13-1.
The Knights landed four other all-league selections, including first-team pick Kaylie Colyn.
Cassidy De Rousse was named to the second team, while seniors Jenny Wickham and Rachel DeVries were honorable mentions.
The MVP voting signals a shift in the Southern League’s balance of power. Manus, a cagey point guard, is now the must-see player. She is Ripon Christian’s first league MVP since Jenna O’Neill in 2002.
“It was well-deserved,” Mulder said.
When it came time to nominate MVP candidates, Mulder pointed to two games – an impressive road in at Mariposa and a championship-clinching victory over Turlock Christian.
Naturally, Manus’ star shined bright in each game.
She had 29 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals in a runaway victory over the Grizzlies on Jan. 22. Ten days later, Manus recorded a triple-double against Bergman and the Eagles, totaling 17 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a 64-53 win on Feb. 1.
The victory clinched a share of the Southern League crown.
“If you just go by stats, Teagan doesn’t compare to Bergman scoring-wise,” Mulder said. “… Bergman is still going to the scorer, but Teagan is probably the better complete player. She plays defense, leads our team in assists, was third in rebounding and was our leading scorer.
“When you’re looking at the MVP award, she was the most valuable on our team and the other coaches felt the same way.”
Bergman made it tough on the league’s coaches.
She accounted for 47 percent of the Eagles’ offense and ranked sixth in the state at 27.3 points per game.
Turlock Christian went 25-6 and earned five all-league selections, the most of any SL team.
Bergman and Arin Morelli were named to the first team. Kate Farrar was a second-team selection, while Madison Beard and Monique McMeechan were honorable mentions.
Manus’ edge over Bergman was her versatility and her ability to get others involved.
Colyn averaged 9.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals for the Knights, who finished their season with an appearance at the CIF Northern California tournament.
De Rousse averaged 4.4 points and 6.7 rebounds. Wickham led the Knights in 3-pointers with 39, while DeVries averaged four points and four rebounds.