St. Francis two-sport athlete E.J. Kelly was named the Central Coast Section Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the section announced earlier this month.
Along with the honor, Kelly, a star in cross country and basketball, earned a $1,500 scholarship from the CCS, as did Santa Catalina’s Laurel Wong, the CCS Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Kelly and Wong were selected from a pool of 16 finalists — each pair representing one of the eight leagues from around the CCS — based upon their success on the field and in the classroom, as well as their impact in their community.
The two were the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Scholar-Athletes of the Year, an award that came with a $500 scholarship.
“These two students reflect the very best of the CCS,” the section said in a press release.
Aptos High’s Hannah Hocom and Max Pepperdine were the representatives for the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League and each earned a $500 scholarship for their efforts.
Kelly in October won the PCAL Santa Lucia division cross country title, and advanced to the CCS and CIF championships for the fourth straight season. He was once again a medalist in the CCS Division V race, and cracked the top 30 in the CIF D-V meet for the second consecutive year.
In basketball, Kelly this winter guided an inexperienced team to a third-place finish in the PCAL-Mission by averaging 11.7 points and 5.0 assists per game, according to the stats kept by MBayPreps. St. Francis completed the season with a 17-7 overall record, and advanced to the CCS D-V semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.
Kelly helped the basketball program win 67 games over the course of three varsity seasons. Thirty of those victories came during his sophomore season, a year in which the Sharks won a league, section and regional championship en route to a runner-up finish in the D-V state final.
In other local sports action from March 21-27:
G LEAGUE BASKETBALL
• Warriors land No. 2 seed - The host Warriors swept a two-game series against the Agua Caliente Clippers to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for the upcoming G League playoffs. Santa Cruz won 113-109 on March 22, and sunk a game-winning shot at the buzzer the following day for a 112-110 victory.
Kendrick Nunn poured in 30 points in March 23’s win, and hit the game-winning jumper to push the Warriors’ regular season record to 34-16 overall — tied with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Long Island Nets for the best record in the league.
By virtue of being the No. 2 seed, Santa Cruz received a first-round bye and will host the Oklahoma City Blue tonight in the single-elimination conference semifinals at 7 p.m.
The first three rounds of the G League postseason are single elimination, but the finals — scheduled to begin on April 7 — will be a best-of-three affair.
• At Aptos 3, Soquel 0 - Jackson Shirley had 17 kills, Bryce Edwards made 33 assists and the Mariners swept the Knights, 25-23, 25-19, 25-16, to improve to 6-0 in Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League play on Tuesday.
Truman Natividad added seven kills and four aces, and Josh Powell finished with 13 digs.
• At Pajaro Valley 3, Alvarez 2 - Dennar Ocampo had 45 assists, six kills, five aces and two digs as the Grizzlies on Tuesday rallied against the Eagles, 23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-19, 15-10, to improve to 6-1 in PCAL-M play.
Esteban Fernandez (18) and Christian Quintero (16) had 34 combined kills for Pajaro Valley, which travels across town to play Watsonville tonight at 6:30 p.m.
BOYS’ TRACK & FIELD
• Matys stars in Gilroy - Aptos senior Hunter Matys ran the sixth-fastest 100-meter dash time in the CCS this spring (11.05) and also recorded the section’s second-best long jump (22-4) at the Avis Kelley Invitational on March 23.
• Aptos 74, Harbor 8 - Junior Xarius Joseph won four events in the Mariners’ SCCAL victory on March 21.
Joseph won the 110 hurdles (17.21), high jump (5-2), long jump (19-1) and triple jump (39-10).
Teammate Anton Jackson, a junior, won the 3,200 (10:50.94) and the 800 (2:15.99).
GIRLS’ TRACK & FIELD
• Veldhuis, Lyons win in Gilroy - Aptos senior Haley Veldhuis edged SCCAL rival Sarah Canavan in the 400 (1:01.31) at the Avis Kelley Invitational on March 23.
Teammate Indra Lyons, a senior, cruised to a win in the 100 hurdles (15.75) and took third in the 100 (13.01).
Watsonville sophomore Layla Ruiz placed second in the 1,600 (5:20.16) and took third in the 800 (2:23.26).
• Aptos 68, Harbor 10 - Sophomore Susana Estrada and junior Brynn Mitchell each won two events in the Mariners’ SCCAL win on March 21.
Estrada battled to wins in the 800 (2:32.98) and 1,600 (5:27.99), and Mitchell won the long jump (17-8) and triple jump (35-4).
• At Aptos 3, Scotts Valley 1 - The Mariners on Tuesday escaped the Falcons’ upset bid by scoring a pair of runs in the fifth inning of their SCCAL win.
Senior Julia Cano was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a scored run. Junior Shea Garcia also went 2-for-3 with a scored run, and freshman Ashley Griffith doubled.
Freshman pitcher Ada Neu allowed eight hits over seven innings and walked two, but struck out eight batters in the victory, her third this season.
• MVC 13, at Soledad 0 - Junior Kendall McPhillips went 4-for-4 with three doubles, two RBI and two scored runs in the Mustangs’ PCAL-Cypress win on Monday.
Senior Samantha Baer homered and doubled at the plate and pitched three innings of one-hit ball in the circle.
• Salinas 5, at M.V.C. 3 - The Mustangs blew a one-run lead in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s PCAL-Gabilan loss.
Junior Roberto Nunez was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a scored run, but M.V.C. mustered only five total hits.
• At Aptos 10, Harbor 1 - Junior Luke Keaschall homered, doubled and drove in five runs for the Mariners in their SCCAL win on Tuesday.
Nathaniel Brouse picked up the win after throwing four hitless innings. The sophomore struck out six in the victory.