The Feb. 27 meeting of the Valley League girls basketball coaches included the selection of Fallbrook High School junior Sara Ahmadpour as the league’s player of the year.
Ahmadpour was one of four Fallbrook players to receive all-league honors. Cali Southwell was also a member of the league’s first team. Janay Segura was part of the second team. Madi Williams received honorable mention accolades.
“It’s fantastic,” Fallbrook coach Tony Morrow said of having four all-league players. “I’m excited to have four players recognized. It’s a good result from a good season.”
Fallbrook and Ramona shared the Valley League championship after both teams posted 7-1 league records and split their two games with each other. The league championship was the first for Fallbrook since the 2006-07 team won the Avocado League title.
“They were able to win league for the first time in 10 years,” Morrow said.
Fallbrook’s overall record for 2016-17 was 12-12, including a loss to Del Norte in the first round of the CIF Division II playoffs.
Ahmadpour averaged 18.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” said Morrow of Ahmadpour’s selection as league player of the year. “It was unanimous. It was kind of nice that the other coaches recognize what she meant to our team.”
During the season Ahmadpour played all five positions.
“I think it was fantastic that the other coaches quickly recognized her ability and her effort,” Morrow said.
Ahmadpour played all eight league games. Southwell missed the Warriors’ first two league matches.
“She came back extremely effective, dictated the flow of games,” said Morrow of Southwell. “We went from a team which was averaging 19 turnovers a game without her down to six turnovers a game when she came back.”
Southwell, a sophomore point guard, averaged 14.1 points per game.
“Having her back took a lot of pressure off of Sara,” said Morrow.
The selection of two players on the all-league first team had not happened for Fallbrook since Tiffany Hunter was the 2006-07 Avocado League player of the year and Marshai Iverson was also on the league’s first team that year.
“The other coaches recognized these kids’ ability, effort, and rewarded them for that,” said Morrow of Ahamdpour and Southwell being named to the Valley League first team.
None of this year’s Valley League first-team players are seniors. Ramona placed sophomores Elexis Espina and Julia Plantz on the first team while San Pasqual was represented on the first team by junior Maile Thompson.
“Our league will be really competitive again for the next couple of years,” said Morrow.
(Fallbrook’s 2016-17 team had three seniors, including Williams, and four freshmen.)
Last year Ahmadpour was part of the Valley League second team and Ramona’s Chiara Mattern was the league player of the year. Injuries and appendicitis limited Mattern to two league games this season, although she still earned second-team Valley League honors. Each of the five Valley League teams had one player on the second team; Mattern is one of three seniors and Segura is one of two sophomores.
Segura averaged 10.4 points per game.
“In my opinion she should have been a first-teamer,” said Morrow, who used Segura as the Warriors’ shooting guard. “Janay really for us was our damage stopper. She was matched up with the best player from the other team.”
Williams, who was Fallbrook’s center, averaged 14.7 rebounds per game and 2.7 points per game.