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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
2001 / ALL-VALLEY BASKETBALL : GIRLS' PLAYER OF THE
YEAR

McCutcheon Was the Key

April 05, 2001|DAVE DESMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LANCASTER — Crystal McCutcheon had the key, both to the gymnasium at Antelope Valley High and to the Antelopes' success.

For possessing the gym key, a violation of school district security rules, the senior guard was suspended for three days and one game.

For unlocking her teammates' potential, McCutcheon is The Times' Valley player of the year in girls' basketball.

Before the senior guard arrived at Antelope Valley, the program was among the region's least successful.

With her last season, the Antelopes claimed their first Golden League title since 1988.

When it was suggested that Palmdale and Quartz Hill would challenge the Antelopes for the title, McCutcheon boldly predicted her team would roll through the league, chafing rival coaches and players.

Then McCutcheon and Antelope Valley marched through the league with a 10-0 record and into the Southern Section Division I-A quarterfinals before losing to nationally ranked Buena.

During her career, the four-time All-Golden League selection evolved from a pure scorer to a heady point guard who guided one of the region's most balanced offenses.

On a 25-4 team that had four players with double-figure scoring averages, McCutcheon averaged a team-best 14.9 points and led the region with 8.6 assists. She also averaged more than six rebounds.

"She was basically our team leader for four years," Coach April Davenport said. "Crystal created for others, distributed to everybody and made everyone around her better."

McCutcheon accepted a scholarship to Pepperdine in the fall after impressing Wave coaches during a pickup game against boys' players at Antelope Valley.

The experience helped prepare her for her senior season, when she was targeted by many opponents. In one game, she was hit in the eye, mouth and nose within a six-minute span. She never went to the bench, continuing to battle until the final buzzer.

"It's going to be tough to replace her, both physically and emotionally," Davenport said.

GIRLS' TEAM

Christina Aguinaga / Taft

5-5, Sr.

Guard

Led Toreadors to West Valley League championship by averaging 16.8 points and making 62 three-pointers.

Brusta Brown / Saugus

5-5, Sr.

Guard

Foothill co-most valuable player averaged 9.2 points, 5.3 assists and three steals to lead Centurions to first league championship and Division I-A quarterfinals.

Sierra Hauser-Price / Notre Dame

5-9, Sr.

Guard

Two-time All-Valley selection and Notre Dame's career scoring leader averaged 17.7 points, four steals and made 54 three-pointers.

Marissa Meadows / Valencia

6-0, Sr.

Center

Foothill League co-most valuable player averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 rebounds to help Vikings to a share of second consecutive league title.

Eshaya Murphy / Montclair Prep

6-0, So.

Guard/Forward

Two-time region scoring leader, who average more than 29 points and 17 rebounds, led Division V Mounties to first Southern Section championship and berth in state playoffs.

Karina Siam / Harvard-Westlake

6-0, Sr.

Forward

Mission League most valuable player bound for UC San Diego averaged 13.9 points to lead Wolverines to Division III-AA championship.

Richelle Sherman / North Hollywood

6-0, Sr.

Center

Sunset Six League co-MVP and one of region's top post players averaged 20.9 points and 10.8 rebounds to lead Huskies to league co-championship.

Liz Sun / Chatsworth

5-9, Jr.

Guard

Versatile playmaker and repeat All-Valley selection averaged 10.4 points and led Chancellors in rebounds (8.2), assists (4.5) and steals (4.6).

Alexis Weatherspoon / Grant

5-7, Sr.

Guard

USC-bound track standout averaged 22.6 points, nine rebounds, 4.7 assists and 6.4 steals for Sunset Six League co-champions.

Coach of the year

Eric Olsson / Saugus

Assistant: Ron Manalastas.

Comment: Guided Centurions to 21-6 record, Division I-A quarterfinals and a share of the school's first league championship.

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