“She’s a shooter!” exclaimed Pacific Union College Coach George Glover at the signing ceremony for Kaelea Alonzo on Friday, May 23, 2014 at Heritage High School. “I’m excited about the opportunity!” said Alonzo.
“Kaelea is one of the smartest and most fundamentally sound players to come through our program,” said Heritage Head basketball coach Nicole Riscica. “She has a great shot and the highest shooting percentage in the league.”
The 5’11” shooting guard averaged fourteen points per game and shot an amazing 64% from the floor, including 53% from beyond the three-point arc. She sank 93% of her free throw attempts. Alonzo also averaged nine rebounds and three assists per game. The three-year varsity player and Team Captain was the team MVP, a Scholar Athlete, a Senior All-Star selection, selected to two All-Tournament teams, and named to the First Team All-Sunbelt League.
Alonzo was also a second team All-League volleyball player. She has a cumulative 3.5 GPA.
“She’s worked hard,” said her parents Candace and Armand Alonzo, “She deserves it. She’s been playing basketball since the sixth grade and improves year after year. We’re excited for her to have this opportunity to start at a four-year institution and grow her wings. The money certainly helps.” Kaelea is the eldest of four siblings. “Playing basketball in college wasn’t her early dream,” said her father, “she became serious between her junior and senior year.”
Alonzo visited five colleges; she cited the private setting, “clean and pretty” campus, the amenities, the personable coach, and the vegetarian cafeteria as key factors in her decision. Pacific Union College is a Seventh Day Adventist college of 2000 students located in the Napa Valley in northern California.
“We are a Christian School,” said Glover, “And I look for players with character. I found out about Kaelea because her coach sent me an e-mail; we saw some clips of her and liked what we saw. When she came up to visit, I had her play with some of the girls and she held her own. She has the skill set and will have the opportunity to earn her playing time, even as a freshman.” The Pioneers are in a rebuilding year graduating five seniors. This is Glover’s second year there. “She can be a key weapon in our motion offense and a solid defender in our press.”
Glover’s advice to aspiring student-athletes is to excel in the classroom, “The higher your GPA, we offer high academic money.” He cited the Maxwell Award, which provides $12,000 per year, annually renewable.
Kaelea’s parents shared this advice to parents: “Start the college recruitment process early. Give positive encouragement.”
Alonzo is one of four seniors on the Heritage team with possibilities to play at the next level. Four of Riscica’s players in the past three years have gone on to play college ball. Heritage also has four football players and three softball players who have signed this year to play in college.