San Jacinto Valley Academy falls to Artesia in CIF-SS girls basketball finals

No. 1 seed San Jacinto Valley Academy were the “runners-up” in the CIF-SS Division 5AA girls’ basketball championships held Saturday, Feb. 29, at Godinez High School. Valley News/Courtesy photo

They are the new kids on the block, but No. 1 seed San Jacinto Valley Academy proved their worth as they scratched and clawed their way to the CIF-SS Division 5AA girls’ basketball championship game Saturday, Feb. 29, at Godinez High School. Their opponent, No. 3 seed Artesia High School, piled it on though, behind a crafty freshman in Samerika Young, who boosted the Pioneers to a 46-39 victory.

Young scored 21 points and pulled down 22 rebounds – both game highs – including 17 rebounds from the offensive end, despite being double-teamed most of the game. In the first quarter alone, she hit all five of the Pioneers’ baskets from the field and made six of eight shots for the half.

“It really was a team effort,” Young said. “Without the team, we wouldn’t have gotten this far.”

Artesia (26-7) held San Jacinto (17-2) to its lowest point total of the season and snapped the Lady Wolves’ 16-game winning streak. The Pioneers also held the Wolves scoreless from the field for what seemed like forever during the second and third quarters, eight minutes in all.

The Lady Wolves, who were playing in the finals for the first time in school history, were led by freshman guard Princess McCauley and sophomore Jheisymae Artagame. Both scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, as they tried to lead their team to victory.

Despite the loss, San Jacinto Valley will move on to the CIF State Regional Division V playoffs where they will face No. 16 Monroe High School this week. The Lady Wolves are ranked No. 1 in the state tournament.

JP Raineri can be reached via email at