Center Cherie Nelson of Marshall Fundamental High and Coach William Wakeley of San Dimas received top San Gabriel Valley honors at the second annual Los Angeles Times girls high school basketball awards ceremony Tuesday night in Harry Chandler Auditorium at Times Mirror Square.
Nelson, a 6-3, 160-pound senior, was named player of the year and Wakeley was chosen coach of the year.
Each received a trophy and certificate. The other nine players on the All-San Gabriel Valley team received trophies and certificates, along with players on all-star teams from eight other circulation areas: San Fernando Valley, Westside, Glendale, South Bay, Orange County, Southeast, South Coast and Central Los Angeles. The awards were provided by the Times Fund.
The All-San Gabriel Valley team consists of Ruth Akahoshi of Keppel, Dana Childs of Western Christian, Kristy Greenberg of Walnut, Geannine and Pauline Jordan of Muir, Judy Mosely of La Puente, Audrey Perkins of San Dimas, DeMetria Terry of Pomona, Cathy Watlet of San Gabriel and Nelson.
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Joan Bonvicini of Cal State Long Beach, who guided the 49ers to the Western Collegiate Athletic Conference title and the No. 2 ranking in NCAA Division I at the end of the regular season. The 49ers lost to Georgia in the NCAA Western Regional final.
Saints Reached Finals
Wakeley's teams have had plenty of success--but not in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Going into this season, San Dimas had breezed to the Montview League title three straight years only to lose in early rounds of postseason play.
That changed this year when the Saints reached the 1-A Division final but lost to Valley Christian, 47-35.
It was an outstanding year for the Saints, who finished with a 26-3 record behind the all-around play of Perkins. The biggest win was a 50-48 shocker in the semifinals over top-seeded Santa Clara.
San Dimas won 18 of its last 19 games. Wakeley's teams have won 56 consecutive league games over four straight unbeaten seasons in league play.
Nelson Spelled Titles
Marshall Fundamental has been a CIF powerhouse since Nelson stepped on the Pasadena campus four years ago.
One of the most dominating players in Southern California, Nelson led the Eagles to four straight Alpha League titles and earned league most valuable player honors and made the All-CIF team every year.
Her statistics this year were particularly impressive. She led the CIF in scoring and rebounding, averaging 34 points, 29 rebounds, 9 blocked shots, 4 assists and 3 steals a game.
Possibly the top college prospect on the West Coast, Nelson recently was named to the Parade All-American team and earned honorable mention on the Street & Smith All-American team.
Nelson, who led Marshall to a 19-3 record and No. 2 ranking in the CIF 1-A Division at the end of the regular seasn, has been recruited by many of the top schools in NCAA Division I, including USC, Cal State Long Beach and Louisiana State.