Video: Te-Hina Paopao highlights
See Suddenlink California Player of the Year in action.
When you're the best player on the No. 1 team in the country, you're pretty much assured to be the best player in your state, and that's definitely the case with Te-Hina Paopao of La Jolla Country Day.
Paopao was the proverbial straw that stirred the drink for LJCD, as she brought the ball up court, made big shots, fed teammates — especially 6-3 frosh post Breya Cunningham — and defended at a high level, all against some of the best teams in the country. Paopao is the 2019-20 Suddenlink California Player of the Year.
Some might think Paopao came out of nowhere to claim the honor, as neither she nor her team were that dazzling last year, but Paopao tore her ACL as a sophomore, and while battling back from that injury as a junior, severely sprained her ankle. So this past season was her first fully healthy one, and the Oregon-bound senior finally had a chance to show just how spectacular she can be — which is pretty spectacular.CALIFORNIA ALL-STATE TEAM PRESENTED BY SUDDENLINK
Paopao compiled impressive stats against that topflight opposition, averaging 22.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists
while making 82 three-pointers on 37 percent shooting and recording a 2.4
5-7 | Senior | Guard | San Diego State
Had a brilliant year for Rosary, which won the Southern California Division I Regional championship, but was denied a shot at a second straight state title by Covid-19 — which was about the only thing that could slow down the San Diego State commit.
5-8 | Senior | Guard | Duke
In an era dominated by glitz and flash, De Jesus just quietly goes about her business, making shots, grabbing rebounds, stealing passes — and then at the end of the game, the realization dawns that the Duke recruit was the difference in the game.
6-3 | Junior | Center | Stanford
Combination of size, strength and skill make her a matchup nightmare, even in the uber-competitive world of Southern California girls basketball. Put tall girls on her, and she rains 3-pointers; shut down the perimeter, and she heads inside, and that versatility is one reason she's a Stanford commit.Kiki Iriafen, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)
6-2 | Junior | Post | Uncommitted
Everyone knew Harvard-Westlake was going to feed Kiki Iriafen, but keeping her from enjoying the meal wasn't that easy. Iriafen wound up with 23.5 points and 15.1 rebounds a game against one of the most difficult schedules in the country.Second Team
6-4 | Sophomore | Post | Uncommitted
Known by some as "Ice," and others as "Do I really have to guard her?" Averaged 20.3 points and 13.4 rebounds a game, and the 6-4 sophomore further confounded opponents by making 36 percent of her 67 three-point attempts.
5-6 | Senior | Guard | Uncommitted
Stayed below the radar for most of the season, even though there were big wins against teams like Rosary and Cathedral Catholic, but by season's end, everyone knew that Etiwanda's point guard was definitely the real deal.
5-8 | Senior | Guard | UC Santa Barbara
All Cardinal Newman did was win, and Anya Choice was the biggest reason why. Some had discounted the Santa Rosa school's chances this year, but with the UC Santa Barbara commit doing pretty much everything, Cardinal Newman made it to the NorCal Open and then knocked off perennial power St. Mary's in the Stockton school's own gym.
6-3 | Freshman | Post | Uncommitted
The rumors were true. All throughout California, it was said that La Jolla Country Day had a great freshman post coming in, and Cunningham's 17.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game were proof that the rumors were right. Oh, and she blocked 3.3 shots per game while shooting 62 percent from the field.
6-0 | Freshman | Post | Uncommitted
Few freshmen make a quick adjustment to high school basketball, because after years of age-group club play, all of a sudden the opponents are three years older. The transition, though, was no problem for Watkins, who averaged well over 20 points a game and like her team, came on strong at the end of the season.Third Team
5-6 | Junior | Guard | Uncommitted
Everyone knew undersized Centennial had to rely on its perimeter game to beat quality opposition, and they also knew Curry was the focal point of that perimeter game. No matter — she scored 22.4 points a game and handed out 2.7 assists for a 26-win team.
5-7 | Senior | Guard | Uncommitted
Sue Phillips substituted in waves all season for Archbishop Mitty, which ravaged Northern California girls' basketball like Genghis Khan in a bad mood — and so Hiraki's 12.4 points and 2.7 assists a game seem pedestrian. But Hiraki epitomized Mitty's physical style of play, as every loose ball and unaccounted-for rebound seemed to wind up in her hands — and if Mitty needed a big 3, Hiraki was the one to make it.
5-10 | Junior | Forward | Uncommitted
Johnson's strength and leaping ability made her all but impossible to stop in the paint, but when she unveiled a consistent 3-pointer, Bishop O'Dowd's offense clicked into a higher gear. And with one more year to go, who knows what she'll add this offseason.
5-7 | Sophomore | Guard | Uncommitted
Lepolo only averaged 10 points a game for the balanced runner-up to Archbishop Mitty in the NorCal Open, but her high basketball IQ, cleverness in the paint and deceptive quickness earned her this spot — and she's already earned the attention of college recruiters.
6-1 | Senior, | Post | Uncommitted
The athletic Oliver didn't fully recover from a torn ACL until the season began, so though opponents were prepared for her athleticism and rebounding, they weren't ready for her 3-point shooting and ball handling. And of course, she was a beast in the smothering St. Mary's press.