Throughout the school year, SoCal Prep Legends has been recognizing the best high school student-athletes in Southern California. As the end of the spring sports season approaches, SoCal Prep Legends will announce award winners in 11 categories, including boys and girls Athlete of the Year winners.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll announce finalists for the awards from KABC and the Southern California News Group that includes 11 news outlets throughout Southern California.
Here are the nominees for Team of the Year:
Chaminade, girls basketball
Accomplishments: Led by Valerie Higgins, a USC-signee, and Leaonna Odom, an athletic wing heading to Duke, the Eagles soared to new heights after capturing its second consecutive CIF Southern Section Open Division title by beating Long Beach Poly.
Chaminade would later face Poly again, just two weeks later, this time for the CIF State Southern California Regional Open Division to advance to the state final where Odom’s game-winning three-pointer placed Chaminade into the State final. The Eagles then put the finishing touches on a banner campaign by beating Miramonte in the CIF State Open Division final for the program’s second state crown.
Chino Hills, boys basketball
Accomplishments: Finishing the year undefeated and being regarded as the No. 1 team in the country by a plethora of publications, the Chino Hills Huskies’ list of accomplishments is a mile long.
Led by UCLA-commit Lonzo Ball, who averaged a triple-double this season, the Huskies won the CIF Southern Section Open Division title, the Southern California Regional Open Division and the CIF State Open Division championship.
National praise doesn’t come without a national victory, and Chino Hills obtained that marquee win over Montverde Academy (Fla.) in the The City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. on Dec. 21 in a nail-biting 83-82 victory while Montverde was ranked No. 1 at the time.
Corona Centennial, football
Accomplishments: Scoring 812 points against their opponents this year and letting up only 298, the Huskies of Corona Centennial were one of the best high school football teams in the nation. Rolling through the Big VIII to an undefeated league crown, Centennial then glided through the Pac-5 Divisional playoffs on its way to a 62-52 shootout with St. John Bosco.
After being crowned the champion of the best football division in Southern California, the Huskies finally met their match in the 2015 CIF State Football Championship Bowl against De La Salle of Concord, Calif., where they lost 28-21, and finished the runner-up.
Despite coming up short in the state title game, Centennial displayed dominance like no other team in Southern California this past season.
Great Oak, cross country
The Great Oak boys cross country team was labeled the best in the nation this past Fall after being crowned National Champions in Portland, Ore. at the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 5. Not only did the Wolfpack win, they marked history at the event with 114 total points and won by 49 points — the largest margin in meet history. Great Oak put all seven of its runners across the finish line before runner-up American Fork’s fifth man.
Along the way to their national title the Wolfpack captured a 2015 CIF Southern Section Division 1 title at Mt. Sac, and a CIF California State championship in Fresno. Although the 2015 divisional title was the first in the program’s history, the 2015 state title was Great Oak’s second consecutive time accomplishing that feat.
Santa Margarita, girls soccer
The Eagles, under head coach Chuck Morales, finished ranked No. 1 in the nation by the USA TODAY High School Sports/National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Santa Margarita defeated its local rival, Tesoro of Rancho Santa Margarita, to win the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship, 3-1, on March 5. Two weeks later, the Eagles beat their rivals again, this time 5-0, to win the CIF Southern California Regional Division I title.
Senior team captain/midfielder Natalie Kennedy was the CIF-SS Division 1 player of the year.
Santa Margarita showed great toughness and determination by winning two playoff games in penalty kicks on its way to adding more hardware to the program’s trophy case. It was the sixth CIF-SS championship the Eagles have won under Morales.
SCPL Awards Show: The year will be topped off by an awards show hosted by SoCal Prep Legends and sponsored by Toyota on June 10 to recognize the nominees and winners for each category. Location and time of the show is still to be announced.
Leading up to the SCPL awards show, we will announce the remaining nominees for the following categories weekly:
-Boys Athlete of the Year
-Girls Athlete of the Year
-Play of the Year
-Scholar Athlete of the Year (Boy/Girl)
-Coach of the Year
-Game of the Year
-Most Outstanding Individual Performance
-Best Student Section/School Spirit (Fan Vote)