On Friday afternoon, Valencia girls basketball named former local high school and college basketball player Kevin Honaker as their new head coach.
Honaker dons the new position after the resignation of 19-year head coach and long-time Viking staple Jerry Mike, who cited personal reasons for his departure.
“Luckily I have been a part of Valencia over the past seven years and I hope to keep it going for as long as I can,” Honaker said.
Honaker takes over the girls basketball team that went 16-12 overall (8-2 in Foothill League) in 2017 and made it to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley, Honaker played for and graduated from Hart High School and then went on to flourish at College of the Canyons before transferring after the 1986 season to play NCAA Division 1 basketball at San Diego State University.
Playing guard for the Aztecs over the course of a two-year span during the ‘88 and ‘89 seasons, Honaker averaged 0.9 points and 0.3 rebounds in 43 games.
Having helped or assisted Valencia girls basketball in one form or another, Honaker hasn’t been formally introduced to the team just yet.
“I’ve been around (last year), maybe not as much as some of the other years, but I know most of the girls on varsity and they are a strong group,” Honaker said. “I’ll probably be introduced to them sometime this week.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be a good year.”
With leading scorer and true point guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan, crafty scorer Tiana Beale and the team’s leading rebounder Chidinma Ikonte all departing for college, Honaker returns 70 percent of last year’s second-place Foothill League roster.
Juniors Nicole Weatherman and Skylar Ingram return to the team after ending last season as the second- and fourth-leading scorers on the team, averaging almost 10 and seven points, respectively. Inversely, Ingram was second in rebounds (7.7) while Weatherman was fourth (3.6).
Mailey Ballard, Marissa Howell and Chyanne’s younger sister, Camille Pagkalinawan may also see an uptick in minutes as they will be relied on to carry on the program’s winning ways on into the future.
“I hope to continue the same success and the things we have done before,” Honaker said. “Teach them the fundamentals and have them win in life and be something that we can be proud of.”