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RCs Cortright, Ripons Jamero are TVL MVPs
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Scoring balance was integral to their teams’ success in the Trans-Valley League, but senior point guards Zach Cortright and Jill Jamero managed to stand out above the rest.
They’re the Most Valuable Players after Cortright led Ripon Christian to an outright claim of the boys title and Jamero spearheaded the Ripon girls’ perfect run through league. Cole Steven of the Ripon boys squad also earned top honors, as he was named Most Outstanding Player.
Cortright had several scoring outbursts throughout the season, including his season-high 27 points in the Knights’ Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff loss at Mariposa. He was their lone player to average in the double figures with 14.7 points per game, but first-year Ripon Christian coach Mark Hofman said he contributed much more.
“Zach had to handle a lot of pressure,” said Hofman, the TVL boys Coach of the Year. “We had to move him to point guard and it’s not really his natural position. He showed a lot of growth.”
Hofman said his improvements were on display in Ripon Christian’s final TVL contest at Ripon, where the Knights (11-1 TVL, 18-8 overall) seized the title with a 57-46 revenge win. Cortright made 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with 19 points.
“His decision making and ball handling were much better in the second game (against Ripon),” Hofman said. “He became a good point guard.”
Junior center Ty Beidleman (9.7 points) and fourth-year senior guard Travis Vander Molen (6.0 points) were named to the all-TVL team. Daniel Hannink and Drew Vander Weide earned honorable mention.
Stevens paced Ripon (10-2, 23-6) with 17.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists. His 44-point onslaught against Hughson on Feb. 9 was five shy of the program record. Fellow junior guard Aaron Paschini (16.6 points, 3.5 steals) and senior power forward Cody Haines (9.6 points, 9.7 rebounds) join him on the all-league list.
Jamero was slowed by an ankle injury early in the season but healed up in time to help George Contente win his third TVL crown in his final year as Ripon’s girls head coach. Contente was named Coach of the Year.
The diminutive Jamero — a soccer whiz heading to Air Force — averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.5 rebounds and saved her best efforts for Ripon Christian (8-4, 15-12). In the regular-season finale she torched the Knights for a season-high 19 points in a 34-31 win. Ripon ended up 12-0 in league and 19-8 overall.
“Teams had to stop her, and it was very hard to do that because of her speed,” Contente said. “She keeps (opponents) off balance because she can penetrate and finish or kick out to other guards. She was able to go by people. Defensively, she’s the fastest person on the floor who can steal the ball from anybody.”
Ripon guards Haylee Monroe (7.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 steals) and Karla Calderon (8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 steals) were all-league selections. Savanah Clark and Sarah DeFreitas made honorable mention.
The backcourt tandem of Nicole Graham (9.5 points, 2.5 steals) and Jessica Orozco (5.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals) represented Ripon Christian on the all-TVL team. Bailey Broker, Molly Hoeksema and Jessica Van Vliet received honorable mention.
Tatyana Jackson of runner-up Mountain House is the Most Outstanding Player.