There was nothing controversial Monday about Valencia High senior Kayla Konrad being named CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA Player of the Year or about Vikings coach Jerry Mike earning Coach of the Year in the division.
Some, however, may disagree with Mike’s opinion of where Konrad falls on the list of all-time greats in Santa Clarita Valley girls basketball history.
“In my opinion, she is the best player to come out of this valley,” said Mike, fresh off his 18th season coaching at the school.
Mike was quick to add he meant no disrespect to former Hart stars Ashlee Trebilcock and Taylor Lilley, the only other girls basketball players from the valley to win a Southern Section player of the year honor.
Trebilcock won it twice, in 2004 and 2005. Lilley won it in 2006 before going on to play in the WNBA.
Still, Mike believes Konrad’s ability to do a little of everything at a high level sets her apart.
“She’s blocking shots. She’s diving on the floor. She’s taking it to the basket. She’s hitting threes,” he said of the UC Davis-bound forward. “I can’t think of a better player.
Konrad averaged 21.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and three steals per game this season, leading Valencia to the first CIF title in program history.
The four-year varsity player ended her Viking career with a program-best 1,897 points.
As far as Division 1AA honors, she was joined Monday by teammate Kenadee Honaker, one of three Santa Clarita Valley athletes to make the division’s All-CIF team.
Canyon juniors Rachel Bowers and Talia Taufaasau were the others. The duo propelled the Cowboys to a second straight CIF title game, losing this time to Valencia, 50-45, at Honda Center in Anaheim on March 4.
Elsewhere, Saugus senior Maryrose Elias made the Division 3AA team.
Albert Einstein Academy senior Helen Rodriguez and Santa Clarita Christian senior Payton Schwesinger made the Division 6 team after leading their respective squads to the quarterfinals.
Rodriguez, also an All-CIF volleyball player, became the Rockets’ first athlete to make two All-CIF teams in one school year.
For boys, Saugus senior Zach Phipps was the lone SCV representative. The senior averaged 20 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, spearheading the Centurions’ turnaround.
After going 3-7 in Foothill League play and missing the playoffs last year, Saugus won six league games and was the only Foothill team to advance through the first round of playoffs.
“I would say the team all together (is what I’ll remember most),” Phipps said. “We were all really close. It was a great group of guys. That was our biggest positive from this year. We were great working together as a team.”