Spring is in the air, but it’s not too late to recognize the winter season athletes who stood out from the crowd. Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy performances from December, January and February.
Senior Class MVP: JSerra boys’ basketball player Sebastian Much was a latecomer to the Trinity League, transferring from Archbishop Mitty in San Jose shortly before his junior season. He averaged 19.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in his first year with the Lions, but they still finished fifth out of six teams in the league standings. Much didn’t fly under the radar during his senior season, instead averaging a league-leading 20.1 points and nine rebounds as JSerra finished in a tie for third in the Trinity League, matching its best finish since joining the league 10 years ago.
Junior Class MVP: Mater Dei had one of its most rewarding boys’ basketball seasons ever, and the gift that keeps giving is junior point guard Spencer Freedman. He averaged about 15 points and six assists during the season, but just as important to the team’s success was his leadership and adaptability. The Monarchs added 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol to the team midway through the season and Freedman helped Bol quickly integrate into the team chemistry. Freedman’s crowning achievement might just be the 17 points and nine assists he delivered in an 83-80 overtime victory against higher-ranked Chino Hills in the CIF-SS Open Division semifinals.
Sophomore Class MVP: JSerra girls’ soccer player Isabella D’Aquila didn’t surprise anyone with her talent level this season. After all, she scored 28 goals as a freshman a year ago to place third in Orange County. But the speedy forward didn’t let the extra attention by defenses slow her down during her sophomore year, instead scoring 15 goals in the first nine games and 24 in the regular season before continuing her assault in the Division I playoffs. She notched five of her team’s 13 goals in playoff wins against Dana Hills, Los Osos, Los Alamitos and Huntington Beach, leading the Lions to their first section final.
Freshman Class MVP: Rosary girls’ basketball player Kate Goostrey was a key part of a team that advanced to the Division 2-AA finals. She averaged nearly 12 points a game on the season, but it was the final two she scored in a quarterfinal win against Twentynine Palms that will be remembered long after she graduates. The Royals had grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw with 5.7 seconds left and Alexandria Iannone passed ahead to Goostrey, who was sprinting down the wing. Goostrey calmly laid the ball in the basket as the overtime buzzer sounded, giving Rosary a dramatic 76-75 victory. Goostrey scored 20 points in the win.
Legacy Award: Mater Dei girls’ basketball player Jayda Adams wasn’t surrounded by as much talent and experience as she was during her first three seasons with the Monarchs, but the Duke-bound combo guard still led the Monarchs to a 8-0 record in the Trinity League, the 10th consecutive season they’ve finished unbeaten in league play. On the boys’ side, Servite senior soccer player Wilbert Valle scored a team-high 14 goals to lead the Friars to their fourth consecutive league title. His goal in a 1-0 victory against Santa Margarita solidified the championship.