By Jeremy Balan
Convent of the Sacred Heart High School senior India Pearce did more than just lead all City players with over 20 points per game — she almost single-handedly willed the Cubs to an undefeated Bay Counties League West season and a second consecutive league title.
As the team’s captain, Pearce led the Cubs in rebounds (8.8), assists (3.5) and was the leading scorer in all but three of Convent’s 30 games — that’s why she’s the SanFranPreps.com Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Branson was the only team to hold Pearce under 10 points in a game this season and she scored 20 or more points 16 times, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three-point range.
While Pearce’s performance was definitively the best individual season, St. Ignatius, undoubtedly the best team in the City, shows up the most on our All-City team. Seniors Raquel Avila and Alex Legarza, as well as junior forward Maria Kemiji-McDonald, earned first-team selections, while juniors Kaitlyn Crawley (second team) and Courtney Gong (honorable mention) rounded out the Wildcats’ starting lineup.
Kemiji-McDonald legitimately entered the conversation for Player of the Year, leading the Wildcats in scoring and to a second-place finish in the brutal West Catholic Athletic League, along with a run in the NorCal playoffs, but could not overcome Pearce.
While many have identified this season as a “rebuilding year” for many girls programs in San Francisco, the future appears bright, with seven of the 10 first- and second-team selections being underclassmen, to go along with seven underclassmen honorable mentions.
Of those underclassmen are several notables, including Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year Lorna Tuufuli of Lowell (second team), University’s triple-double threat Amelia King (first team), Sacred Heart Cathedral’s dynamic freshman guard Geanna Summers-Luaulu (second team) and a pair of sharpshooting International guards in Denia Ebersole and Natalie Kelly (both honorable mentions).
The presence of talented underclassmen is more than present on AAA champion Lowell, which featured 17 sophomores and juniors on its mammoth 22-player roster. Guiding that group was our Coach of the Year, Aki Kuwada, who led the relatively inexperienced Cardinals to his second consecutive AAA championship and fifth in the past six years.
As much as the underclassmen legitimately hold key spots in the All-City team, a group of very decorated seniors also had great seasons. Bay standout senior guard Mary MacLeod (second team) won her second consecutive Bay Counties League Central Player of the Year honor after leading the Breakers to their second consecutive league title.
Sacred Heart senior Geena Giovannetti, who began her high school career as a freshman on an undefeated, state championship winning Irish team in 2007-08, had an up-and-down regular season, but was a key component in the Irish’s Central Coast Section championship run, including a 14-point point performance in an upset win over rival St. Ignatius in the CCS final.
SanFranPreps.com Player of the Year
India Pearce, senior forward, Convent
Coach of the Year
Aki Kuwada, Lowell
Raquel Avila, senior guard, St. Ignatius
Maria Kemiji-McDonald, junior forward, St. Ignatius
Amelia King, junior center, University
Alex Legarza, senior forward, St. Ignatius
Mariah Masoli, junior guard, Mercy
Raelyn Cheung-Sutton, junior guard, Washington
Kaitlyn Crawley, junior forward, St. Ignatius
Mary MacLeod, senior guard, Bay
Geanna Summers-Luaulu, freshman guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Lorna Tuufuli, sophomore forward, Lowell
Malaysia Basallo, sophomore guard, Balboa
Isabella Borges, sophomore guard, Convent
Clara Cardillo, senior forward, Bay
Denia Ebersole, junior guard, International
Jessica Garrett, junior center, Lincoln
Geena Giovannetti, senior forward, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Courtney Gong, junior guard, St. Ignatius
Bianca Hussien, senior forward, Galileo
Natalie Kelly, freshman guard, International
Justine Li, senior guard, University
T.J. Miller, senior guard, Sacred Heart Cathedral
Andrea Mochida, senior guard, Wallenberg
Sophie Navarro, junior forward, Jewish Community
Courtney Sabahi, junior forward, Mercy
Jocelyn Sabillon, senior guard, ICA