This year’s Foothill League girls basketball co-Players of the Year honors serve as a capstone and a caution.
A capstone in that Valencia’s Kayla Konrad concluded a stellar four-year career by leading the Vikings to a fifth straight league title.
A caution to rival Foothill teams in that Canyon 6-foot-3 center Rachel Bowers will return for another season after propelling the Cowboys to a share of the 2017 league title.
Bowers will be joined in 2018 by first-team all-leaguer Talia Taufaasau and second-teamer Gabriela Sanchez, making Canyon the favorite.
“I’m so excited for next year,” Bowers said Friday. “So excited.”
The Cowboys and Vikings split their two league meetings this season, with Bowers and Konrad playing crucial roles in both.
Valencia won the first meeting on Jan. 17, 47-45, on Konrad’s game-winning buzzer-beater.
Konrad finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists in that game.
Bowers had 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Canyon won the rematch on Feb. 3, outscoring the Vikings by 20 points in the second half to snap Valencia’s 23-game winning streak in league.
Bowers had 12 points and 19 rebounds. Konrad had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven steals.
Canyon’s win — the first home league loss for Valencia since 2013 — meant the schools shared the league title for the third time in five years.
While league Player of the Year is based on performance in league, the rivalry, obviously, didn’t end there.
Canyon and Valencia met in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA title game at Honda Center in Anaheim on March 4.
The Vikings assigned Konrad to guard Bowers in the post.
“It was definitely challenging because Kayla had her mind set on the game,” Bowers said. “She was a driving force, so it was definitely challenging with her in the game.”
Bowers finished with 10 points, while Konrad scored a game-high 23 in Valencia’s 50-45 win.
In league, Bowers averaged 13.8 points and 10.5 rebounds a game.
Konrad averaged 25.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in league.
“Kayla is a great player, so it’s really cool sharing this with her,” Bowers said.
Konrad is set to play for UC Davis next season. Bowers will pursue a repeat title.
“It’s definitely on the table,” Bowers said.
She plans to work on her ball-handling and shooting over the offseason.
“On being more of a presence,” she said.