Canyon’s Taufaasau named Foothill League Player of the Year

Canyon's Talia Taufaasau (3) goes for a shot as Valencia's Mailey Ballard (2) guards her at Canyon on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Although she was consistently one of Canyon girls basketball’s top shooters throughout this season, Talia Taufaasau insists that although it’s fun to score, it’s not her favorite part of basketball.

“I think I’ve always liked nice passes better than nice shots,” said Taufaasau. “Especially having people like Selasi (Mawugbe), Rachel (Bowers), Gabby (Sanchez) and our shooters Ellie (Villavicencio) and Brooke (Mitchell) to make those nice passes to.

“It made my job as a point guard much easier.”

After playing four years on varsity, Taufaasau’s team mentality has led her to be named this year’s Foothill League girls basketball player of the year.

She made varsity as a freshman and immediately filled the role of starting point guard. Aside from some time off for injury, she never left the spot and developed her confidence in the process.

“I just came out of my shell a little more,” Taufaasau said. “…Coming on a varsity team and starting as a freshman is something super intimidating and I know for me it took me a little while to feel comfortable and actually want the ball in my hands.”

Taufaasau averaged 14.6 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 7.6 assists per game for the Cowboys, whose season ended in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals with a 67-57 loss to Bishop Alemany.

“Even though our season was cut a little shorter than we wanted to, I’ve never been more proud of any season we’ve had as a team,” said Taufaasau.

The senior plans on playing basketball in college, but is still in talks with a handful of schools.

In addition to basketball, Taufaasau plans to major in psychology and eventually become a forensic psychologist.

Although the next step in her hoops career has yet to be decided, she’s completely certain of one thing she wants in her next team.

“Especially after this year, the team unity that we had, I admire that about this team,” Taufaasau said. “So definitely I hope the school I go to has something like that … a close-knit family environment.”

First Team

Rachel Bowers, Sr., Canyon

Selasi Mawugbe, Sr., Canyon

Annie Christofferson, Sr., Hart

Libbie McMahan, So., Saugus

Chidinma Ikonte, Sr., Valencia

Chyanne Pagkalinawan, Sr., Valencia

Second Team

Gabriela Sanchez, Sr., Canyon

Ellie Villavicencio, Jr., Canyon

Shyann Franklin, Jr., Golden Valley

Haylyn Nguyen, Sr., Hart

Monique Febles, So., Saugus

Tiana Beale, Sr., Valencia

Eleanor McQuillen., Jr. West Ranch

Honorable Mention

Brooke Mitchell, Jr., Canyon

Dyamond Lamparski, Sr., Golden Valley

Aly Kaneshiro, So., Hart

Vanessa Ogbu, So., Saugus

Mailey Ballard, Fr., Valencia

Abigail Ang., Fr., West Ranch

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