WATSONVILLE — Committed.
Full of heart.
Pajaro Valley second-year coach Lupe Quintero had plenty of nice things to say about her star senior Jayleen Solorzano.
So did the other coaches in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Santa Lucia division, as the lightning-quick point guard was named the division’s Most Valuable Player, the league announced on Sunday.
“I think everyone knew that she deserved it,” Quintero said of Solorzano. “There’s not much else that I can say about her that I haven’t already. She’s a terrific player.”
According to the stats kept by MaxPreps, Solorzano, a three-year varsity starter, led the state in scoring this winter, dropping 28.8 points per game to help Pajaro Valley win its first-ever league title and break the program record for most wins in a single season.
The Grizzlies finished the year with a 21-5 overall record, and went undefeated in league play, clinching the PCAL-SL championship with a win over Pacific Collegiate School under the bright lights of Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz.
“We didn’t just want to win league, we wanted to go undefeated,” Solorzano said. “After that game, I couldn’t believe we pulled it off.”
Along with her M.V.P. nod, Solorzano also earned a spot on the All-PCAL-SL First Team, as did senior teammate Michelle Ibarra, a 5-foot-2 guard who averaged 13.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for the season.
“Michelle was big for us, too,” Quintero said. “When Jay was off, she would pick up the slack. They complemented each other well.”
Solorzano was hardly ever off during league action. The 5-foot-2 hooper averaged 26.5 points over her 10 league games, as the Grizzlies cruised to double-digit wins in every contest.
She also had 29 points and eight rebounds in Pajaro Valley’s Central Coast Section Division III upset of Hillsdale in the first round of the tournament.
The Grizzlies lost 62-38 a day later to eventual semifinalist Saratoga. Through tough-nosed defense and admirable effort, Solorzano finished with a game-high 21 points in the loss to up her program record for most points in a single season (742).
“This season makes me feel like all the hard work does pay off,” said Solorzano, who was almost always the first player in the Pajaro Valley gym and the last person — player or coach — to leave.
She said her hard work isn’t over yet. She hopes to play hoops in college, and is still looking for the best fit as she continues to develop her skills with the West Valley Basketball Club.
Quintero called Solorzano, who is the school’s ASB President and ranked No. 3 in her class, the complete package.
“She’s got the grades, and she works harder than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Quintero said. “She’s a great kid all around, and I can’t wait to see where she goes.”
Pajaro Valley senior forward Judith Celestino was named to the All-PCAL-SL Second Team.
Santa Catalina and Greenfield shared the Elgie Bellizio Team Sportsmanship Award.
Ceiba College Prep senior center Fenesia Braga earned a share of the Defensive Player of the Year award with Oakwood sophomore Lydia Sattler.
Braga was a force in the paint for the Spartans this winter, averaging 4.4 blocks over 12 games to also earn a spot on the All-PCAL-Arroyo First Team.
Ceiba, competing in its second varsity season, placed second in the division behind Oakwood, and advanced to the CCS Division V playoffs.
Pacific Point Christian’s Olivia Prettyman was named the M.V.P. of the division.
Spartans’ senior guard Summer Hashimoto was named to the All-PCAL-Arroyo Second Team.
Monte Vista Christian junior guard Madison Hill made the All-PCAL-Gabilan First Team.
Hill scored a team-high 9.4 points per game and was also second in rebounds with 5.0 boards per contest
M.V.C. finished the season with a 19-8 overall record, and placed third in the brutally tough division behind co-champions North Salinas and Seaside.
The Mustangs also advanced to the CCS Division IV semifinals.
Sophomore point guard Mackenzie Tellez earned a spot on the All-PCAL-Gabilan Second Team. She led the team in assists (3.0) and steals (2.8) per game while also finishing second in points (7.2) per game.
Watsonville senior forward Ruby Galvan and North Monterey County senior wings Faith Mora and Alyssa Torres were named to the All-PCAL-Mission Second Team.
Galvan was a bright spot for Watsonville during an otherwise down year. The Wildcatz went 4-20 overall and did not win a league game.
Mora and Torres, meanwhile, helped the Condors finish with a 13-10 overall record. N.M.C. placed fourth in the division at 5-5, and earned the program’s fifth straight CCS playoff berth.