Girls Basketball: Hard To Miss
Here are other athletes who stood out and will likely return for the 2020-2021 season.
San Diego Mater Dei Catholic has a talented big girl in Kayanna Spriggs. Against a good Palisades team, the 6-foot-3 center was fierce in the paint, blocking and altering shots and snaring rebounds. Palisades defenders did a better job of neutralizing her in the second half of the semifinals SoCal Division II Regional Playoffs.Spriggs scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half but only managed to scored two points in the third quarter. She showed a soft touch around the basket and perimeter. She ran the floor well. She also had six boards.
Niala Mitchell, a 6-foot forward, has plenty of upside. She did all the dirty work on the floor, boxing out, keeping the ball alive on teammate’s missed shots and scored off of rebound-outbacks. She finished seven points, eight rebounds and one block shot.
Alexis Pettis, a junior guard from Palisades High, did most her damage in the second half of the SoCal Division II Regional Playoffs. That’s when she scored 10 of her 12 points to help the Dolphins advance to the regional finals against Santa Monica.
Sammie Arnold’s value to Palisades High didn’t show up in the scoresheet. The junior point guard managed the floor well. She stretched the defense with a 3-ball so defenders on their toes. She also played solid defense. She had five points.
Ivy Scott, Palisades forward, had the big task of trying to keep Spriggs off the boards. She was more than capable, especially in the second half of the SoCal Regional playoffs. She added six points, and four rebounds.
Sophomore Demoni Lagway of Pacific Palisades hit short-range jumpers around the paint and delivered 3-balls against a good Mater Dei Catholic. She kept the pressure on the Crusaders throughout the contest. She led the Dolphins with 19 points.
Freshman Jada Webb played solid defense and kept defenders on their heels as she scored on layups and on jumpers around the key. She made clutch shots to keep the Crusaders close in the SoCal Division II Regional Playoffs against Palisades. The 5-foot-6 wing finished with 11 points.
Taylor: Makes Her Point
When her career ends, she is expected to be one of a multitude of guards who have graduated fully equipped to compete at the NCAA and NAIA levels.
Coach Ellis Barfield has produced a plethora of guards from McDonald's All-American Sade Wiley-Gatewood (Signed University of Tennessee, 2004) to top CIF Southern Section players like Aliza Lofton (Cal State Bakersfield, 2013) and Jazmine Johnson (Seattle University, 2014).
Taylor is on track to continue the tradition. Without question, Taylor is one of the best point guards in the Long Beach, Calif. area and CIF-SS.
This season, she averages 10.4 points and 4.8 assists per game. Defensively, Taylor swarms the floor for 1.9 steals per game.
When she is more aggressive offensively, the Knights are a vastly improved team. She lives at the free-throw line because she gets fouled frequently driving right and powers through contact for layups and tumbles to the hardwood.
Taylor needs to be just as strong dribbling to her left side as she is her right. A stutter step to freeze defenders and blow by them would also help her game. She does need to polish her three-ball game. Utilizing her mid-range jumper and tear-drop shots more would certainly make her less predictable.
Recently, in the Open Division of the CIF-SS playoffs, Taylor tallied 27 points against No. 4 seeded Mater Dei of Santa Ana (a perennial national powerhouse) and 17 points against No. 5 seeded Etiwanda, an elite CIF-SS program.